Nearly 60 people attended the Alpine Town Council meeting Tuesday Feb 16. It was standing room only. The interest in the town meeting stemmed from a proposal by New West Construction LLC and Rex Doornbos to purchase 7.5 acres of land for an “Alpine Business Park.”
Doornbos was allotted time at the beginning of the public hearing to explain the proposed design and use of the area, which would be essentially a group of buildings with parking to accommodate a variety of small businesses in the area. Doornbos explained his impetus for acquiring the land was to help bring more economic development and businesses to the area, to create more jobs, and perhaps even enough to attract enough families to create some hope of having a K-6 school in Alpine.
Community member, Dave Jenkins, claimed the public notices were unclear that it was advertising this specific property. Jenkins acknowledged it had been advertised legally, but emphasized the council needed to hear the townspeople’s view of the proposal. “This is our town. You need to hear our voices.”
“The contract is a one-sided proposal and not in favor of the town,” Jenkins stated. “Despite the appraisal of $644,000 for the 7.5 acres, the property could fetch at least double, perhaps much more than the current offer.” Jenkins, along with other community members explained that the town fathers from thirty years ago wanted the property to be used for the town, perhaps a school, a recreation center, rodeo grounds, a playground or recreational area––definitely not for industrial development.
Jenkins proposed forming a committee of town members to deliberate and develop a plan for the acreage more in line with community desires. Several participants stated that the
current proposal was a good plan for someone, somewhere––just not for Alpine right now.
During the 30 minutes allotted for public comment, community members stated a variety of reasons for opposing the proposed Alpine Business Park: it would lower property values; they believed the appraisal was low; once sold, the property could not be retrieved for other purposes; increased traffic in the community that doesn’t have sidewalks; there should have been better transparency about the process of the potential sale.
Resident, Jordan Kurt-Mason, mentioned that he had a petition with over 370 signatures on it opposing the sale. It was unclear how many of those were residents of Alpine.
After public comments, Doornbos stated his intent was “to bring economic development, job creation. We’d like to bring that to the community.”
After hearing comments from the community, Mayor Kennis Lutz said, “I would like to support it, but I don’t think it’s the right time or the right place.” Lutz said he thought it would be good to start a committee to look at the future growth of the town.
The Alpine town council voted unanimously not to approve the sale of land to New West LLC.