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Group implores City Council members to preserve Franklin Mountains

A group of more than 20 people trying to preserve a section of the Franklin Mountains zoned for development spoke at Tuesday’s El Paso City Council.

Nearly 200 acres west of Edgar Park and Magnetic Street in Northeast El Paso are being cleared to make way for more than 200 homes.

The group, known as Save Our Sierras, addressed members during the public comment part of the meeting. Save Our Sierras is a committee of the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition.

Thousands of residents have signed a petition to stop the development. Despite the petition, the city’s planning committee approved the development plans. The issue will now go to the City Council for a final vote.

The developer, Daniel Knapp, has done everything properly and has the legal right to build. The development is called Sierra Del Puerte.

Northeast El Paso resident Melissa Kirkham said, “As city council members, you have an opportunity to purchase this the Knapp land for open space. There is money in quality of life of life bond for open space. And the Knapp land owners have expressed a willingness to sell.”

During Tuesday’s city council meeting, Northeast city Rep. Carl Robinson assured the group their message is being heard. He told the group to please understand, however, that the city cannot just go and take the people’s land. “We are working toward coming up with some options,” Robinson said. “At the appropriate time, everything we can do legally, we are going to do that.”

Back in November 2015, Robinson told ABC-7 News the owner of the land indicated willingness to discuss the situation.

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