It's 12:35 a.m., and I still don't know what's happened at the City Council meeting about the Ellis project, which was up for discussion and a possible vote tonight.
But I do know several things about the project:
• It makes no sense to trade home building rights for an aquatics center when a city consultant has recommended closing the existing city pool to save money. Especially when Surland, Ellis' developer, would get the aquatics center land if the city didn't start building there within two years.
• It makes no sense to spend countless staff hours right now figuring out a massive residential expansion when the homes A) can't be built until 2012, and B) we should be using that time to focus on budget balancing and economic revitalization.
• It makes no sense to surround the Tracy Municipal Airport with homes unless there is some sort of ironclad agreement that the airport will be able to operate freely no matter how much the Johnny-come-lately Ellis homeowners complain.
• A comprehensive public transportation model should be in place before Ellis goes forward, because $1.50 gas won't last forever (remember last summer, dontcha?)
• There must be substantiative answers to questions regarding the Jefferson School District's ability to absorb the hundreds of schoolchildren who will one day call the Ellis development home.
• The mock-ups given by Surland to the city and public for perusal look beautiful.
• Ellis can be a good project for the city, if done on the right scale, at the right time and with the right incentives.
Check back later today at www.tracypress.com for Eric Firpo's blow-by-blow account of the Ellis discussion and any City Council action.