Written by David Crowder in The El Paso Inc.
Early voting for the May 4 elections starts Monday, and on the ballot is a rare voter-initiated proposition to stop the development of 1,007 acres the city has had big plans for in Northwest El Paso.
The proposition will let voters do what El Paso City Council members do when they approve or reject an ordinance. But this one took two petition drives and 3,800 signatures to reach the ballot.
It’s a skimpy ballot, but also includes, depending on where you live, elections for the El Paso Community College Board of Trustees and four school districts – El Paso, Ysleta, Socorro and San Elizario – along with Horizon City’s mayor and Town Council.
The 1,007 acres have 25 miles of trails worn by use or cleared by volunteers, including the popular Lost Dog Trail, just off Redd Road where it turns into Northern Pass Drive.
The land is undeveloped and belongs to the Public Service Board, which oversees El Paso Water, and the city has never spent public money to alter or maintain it.
That’s how supporters of the proposition want to keep it.
But the city has had detailed plans for the development of much of that area for more than a decade and has moved ahead with the creation of a tax increment reinvestment zone, or TIRZ, to help that development. Continue reading