Response to Gazette Editorial
"Stop No-growthers from exploiting public safety"

We received many emails from angry citizens about this editorial piece.  Matt Coleman, President of Kissing Camels POA, gave us permission to reprint his letter to the editorial board which we thought was excellent.  Thank you to all of you who spoke up!  

WE NEED A PLAN FIRST

Monday’s op ed defense of the city’s proposed new emergency evacuation ordinance painted the detractors as “no-growthers” who are “exploiting public safety.” There may be some who deserve that label, but it misses the point.

The City’s West side is experiencing its final build-out, with no more large tracts of land to develop. Much of what is proposed is very high density, adding traffic and congestion to Garden of the Gods Road, Centennial, and Fillmore – vital arteries that will be choked off when (not if) we have our next wildfire emergency. Those who evacuated, many of whom lost their homes, in the Waldo Canyon disaster want a better answer than an ordinance to create an incident command… to then make a plan.

The core of disaster response is scenario planning, gaming multiple “If – then…” possibilities. Fire location? Wind direction? What if the wind changes? Time of day? Road construction and availability? Communications? Exit corridors? Rendezvous points? Post evacuation security? 
This work has not been done, and it should be done before more high density development is allowed to proceed. 

I represent over 700 residents in Kissing Camels and have attended the good meetings hosted by CSFD about wildfire preparation. Acknowledging the lack of robust evacuation planning, one official commented, “We’ll get you out; don’t worry.” Not good enough. Do the hard work and give us a plan BEFORE you consider more development.