Mesquite Misrepresentation and the Trailhead Project
Our councilwoman, Bridget Binsbacher, recently vacated her council seat mid-term to run for mayor. Quite frankly, I find it very hard to believe this wasn’t her plan when she asked for our votes in 2020 to be elected to represent Mesquite for another 4 years.
Ms. Binsbacher resigned her seat prior to the Council’s vote to approve the Trailhead Project at the corner of 83rd and Happy Valley Avenues. For those unaware, Trailhead is a very controversial project which included 336 high density apartments that replaced 100 single family homes, gas station with convenience store and fast food. A project according to the developer will potentially include “high end” restaurants and upscale grocery but as yet no commitment from Safeway or any restaurants. A project the City Council gave $1.5M of tax dollars to the developer to source restaurants with no disclosed criteria. Specific details of the project which were for all intent and purposes withheld from the local resident of West Wing, Rock Springs, Aloravita, Terramar – until it was too late.
After corruption or illegal activity in office, the worst thing an elected official can do to his/her constituents is to walk out on their term to run for a higher elected office. A candidate makes a commitment to the voters – you vote for me and I will serve you for the length of that term.
Ms. Binsbacher’s heir apparent is Mr. Brad Shafer.
At an educational event in January 2022 Mr. Shafer told me of Ms. Binsbacher’s plans to resign in April and he would be appointed to fill her seat. He was her appointee to the Planning and Zoning Commission. At the April 7th P&Z Commission meeting (four days after Binsbacher’s resignation) Mr. Shafer voted to approve the Trailhead Project then immediately resigned his seat in order to be appointed to and ultimately run for the Mesquite seat.
Mr. Shafer attended the April 19th City Council meeting at which the Trailhead Project was approved WITHOUT representation for the Mesquite District. Many residents spoke in opposition to the project. The primary request being that the vote be postponed at least until such time as the Mesquite district has representation (although his P&Z vote clearly indicates how Mr. Shafer was likely to vote). Mr. Shafer sat silently; neither brave enough to defend his vote on P&Z in favor of the project nor was he willing to stand with his future constituents in their request to postpone the vote.
It is certainly curious that this issue was withheld from the Council’s agenda until after her resignation; perhaps so that Ms. Binsbacher would not have to contend with a controversial vote on this project during her bid for mayor. But then strategically placed on the agenda prior to Mr. Shafer’s appointment so that the Trailhead vote would not have to be on the record as his first vote against his constituents.
Interestingly the developer’s attorney held a fundraiser for Binsbacher’s mayoral race prior to her resigning and opening a campaign for that office. How much money the developer will put into her and Shafer’s campaigns is yet to be seen.
I am running for Peoria City Council because the citizens of Mesquite deserve better. I ask for your support and your vote in November.
I stand with my neighbors not wealthy democrat developers!
See the Politics for Yourself
Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) was the accusation launched at residents who live near 83rd & Happy Valley before they even spoke.
Residents are not against growth. They are against unrepresented meetings parading as community engagement. They are against deals being made under the cover of COVID. They are against developers getting paid tax dollars to secure restaurants as a recession loomed. They are against material changes to our community without representation.
Planning Meeting 4.7.22
High Density Apartments
Originally there were no apartments. Dec 2021 it’s “luxury” apartments. At planning approval ” it’s “Mid Range” apartments. Watch the developer’s comments.
Gas Station & Convenience Store
Messaging to local community didn’t include Gas Station or Convenience. At meeting for planning vote, it does. Watch the developers comments.
Recent messaging is for a couple of (yet to be secured) sit down restaurants. Now also it includes fast food. Watch the developers comments.
Commissioner Video Summary: Clay Allsop, Tony Feiter, Shawn Hutchinson, Jeff Nelson, Bradley Shafer, Joysaphine Waitman. Commissioner Hutchinson expressed concern if it’s affordable housing. The response, “these are basically, mid-range” so resident can “live and work in area”. Comissioner Joysaphine Waitman question if it’s midrange for rental and can people afford it. The response was that no price could be given but it’s re-iterated as “mid-range” in price and the developer is committed to it. Commissioner Jeff Nelson calls out the need for these to be “more affordable”.
Then Planning Commissioner Bradly Shafer called out that the developer claims the project can’t be successful without the apartments. Commissioner Shafer responded that “he respectfully disagreed”. He sited that “four corners has flourished over 6-7 years without multi-family.” However, when it came to stand behind those observations, Shafer voted to pass the re-zoning ‘as is’. The proposal went to the City Council on 4/19/22.
Council Vote 4.19.22
Mesquite Had NO Representation
The Mesquite seat had been vacated and not yet appointed. The Council was fully poised to approve the Trailhead project on the NE corner of 83rd and Happy Valley. Residents who live BESIDE the development rallied in 12 days. Residents against filled an overflow room not seen on the video. Most of the “for” speakers have a vested interest or connection to the developer or development. Only a couple live in areas adjacent to 83rd/Happy Valley.
$1,500,000 City Funds Allocated to Developer
Discovered on the City Council’s 4/19 agenda is an amendment to transfer $1.5M of public taxes to the EDA Project dedicated to The Trailhead Project. It’s a nice voting package. No representation and giving $1.5M of tax dollars to the developer with no stated requirements. See Agenda item 24R
Mayor Just Says NO
Objections about water table levels, dark sky ordnance, access to the developer funded traffic study, cross walk risks at the 4 way stop, schools crowding are rebuffed by the mayor. Residents were told they’d be expelled for any noise of their frustration at not being heard as it was a “business meeting”.