A common thread pulls through news of these few weeks.
In Marana, a neighborhood is concerned about the effects of an implement and construction equipment dealer who wants to build nearby.
In Oro Valley, people annoyed by business lights want the town to enforce its sign code, making sure lights go off when the business day is done.
And in rural Pima County, near La Cañada, neighbors are upset about the impacts of a new, wider road upon their properties.
The actions of others, and their effects on us, are always paramount.
Taken case by case …
• Marana Estates residents, of long duration, are upset by the noise, fumes and traffic of neighboring commercial businesses. When a new business, Earhart Equipment, comes along, they're jittery, and not trusting of government's ability to regulate activity and mitigate impacts. Gordon Earhart has demonstrated patience, and he's trying to do the right, good thing for his business, his neighbors and the town at large. Even those who "oppose" — rather, who are concerned — by Earhart's plan do see the possibility of something good happening. It should. Marana could use another stable employer, and Earhart is by all indications a positive contributor to its communities;
• Should Oro Valley businesses turn their lights off when the door is locked? We're not sure. What we are sure of is that, first of all, the ill will felt toward Oro Valley Marketplace remains — complaints about business lighting are emanating from the nearby Palisades neighborhood, we are told. Secondly, when photographer Randy Metcalf ventured out Monday night to shoot pictures, he was struck by the amount of light in the parking lots, and less so by the signs of individual businesses.
The Northern Pima Chamber of Commerce is advocating for dusk to dawn lighting permission on behalf of businesses that are struggling through difficult times. Any bit of awareness and advertising helps, even at 3 in the morning.
There's a compromise to be had here, and it should be identified and undertaken. The community has many big issues that need addressing;
• Most difficult in this roster is La Cañada. The four-lane stretch of roadway, to run between Calle Concordia and Ina, is much needed. It also will have much effect on a long-established residential neighborhood. People in the La Cañada Magee Neighborhood Association, a talented, dedicated, smart bunch, have been pleading with government for years to accommodate their needs for noise, sight and other mitigation. They're getting some, in the project that is now out for bids. But it's not enough, in their view.
Those of us who commute on La Cañada must ask themselves – would we like to see more money, millions even, go to drub the effect of a better roadway? From this seat, yes. But this is the easy seat. Ask Marana Mayor Ed Honea, who sits as chairman of the Regional Transportation Authority board and has fiduciary responsibilities. He says this: "This is RTA money, and when you start spending that money on a bunch of mitigation walls not required by ordinance, that might take money away from another project."
It's a tough position for decision-makers.
All of this became too much for Ron Hilwig, who resigned his position on the project's citizens advisory committee last week. He's discouraged, frustrated, and feels like government simply hasn't listened. We saw e-mail disparaging Hilwig's opinion. That's rubbish. He cares about his neighborhood, not himself, and he has given hundreds of hours to time to pursue reasonable solutions. In the end, Ron and the others aren't getting what they want.
After deadline last week, Supervisor Ann Day called to comment on Hilwig's resignation. "My office has responded to an avalanche of comments, questions and criticisms from Ron," Day said. "We definitely worked with him, my office." She thanked Hilwig for his work. "He did bring a number of issues" to the attention of decision-makers.
Day said the citizens advisory committee process on road projects has "certainly worked with other projects. It's about give and take, compromise and balance. It's a give and take process."
Give and take, compromise and balance. Applicable to all the above.