Statement from El Paso's Rim Area Neighborhood Association: Working together leads to agreement
On Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, the El Paso City Council approved an ordinance that grants a reduction in parking requirements at Las Palmas Medical Center, which will allow the hospital to open a new three story addition. Approval of the ordinance came after negotiations between HCA Health Systems and the Rim Area Neighborhood Association to ensure that the interests of both the hospital and surrounding neighborhoods were considered.
“The agreement that led to today’s vote is a reminder that El Paso’s success depends on many factors, including policies that promote both business growth while also preserving the quality of life in El Paso’s neighborhoods,” said Risher Gilbert, president of the Rim Area Neighborhood Association. “The parking issues in the three neighborhoods of the Rim Area, Sunset Heights and Kern Place are complex, and require that the residents be invited to the table at the beginning of the process and not near the end. The Rim Area Neighborhood Association thanks the Sunset Heights Neighborhood Improvement Association and Kern Place Association for their support in efforts to ensure that the voices of nearby residents were heard as this ordinance was considered. We especially thank City Representatives Peter Svarzbein and Cissy Lizarraga for their strong leadership as City Council debated various issues related to the Las Palmas addition.”
The spirit of compromise that led to today’s ordinance should be a model for future efforts to support business growth while also preserving the quality of life in El Paso’s neighborhoods. Finally, RANA thanks the leadership of Las Palmas for meeting with us and hearing our concerns, and looks forward to continuing open dialogue in our mutual goal of building a greater El Paso.
LAS PALMAS AGREEMENT SUMMARY
RANA has been negotiating with Las Palmas since the January 22, 2019 City Council meeting, to reach a compromise involving the Las Palmas request for a parking waiver for its new expansion project. As part of the final compromise Las Palmas has agreed to construct a new parking lot at 211 Schuster Avenue with a minimum of 50 parking spaces. This lot will be landscaped with about 15 trees and numerous bushes and other plants. Las Palmas has agreed to record a Restrictive Covenant on this lot, and must get Council’s permission and give the Rim Area, Sunset Heights and Kern Place Associations notice before any of the parking spaces can be removed. In order to mitigate the impact of the Las Palmas expansion on residents, Las Palmas is donating funds that will be invested in some safety capital improvements within the RANA boundaries. In return for these items, RANA and its sister neighborhoods withdrew their objection to the parking waiver which was granted by Council today.