Our Town Planning Petition Made an Impact!
We made an impact! Originally, Kutchan Town planned to implement the new regulations this year, but with the intervention of City Council, they have agreed to defer it for one year while doing "further study". You can read the letter here. Many thanks to everyone who signed the petition requesting changes to the planned revision of the Kutchan Quasi-City Planning regulations. People have continued to sign up, and we now have 724 people on the list, representing a really wide variety of people. Clearly everyone could see the necessity!
We submitted the petition concurrently to both Mayor Monji, and separately to Kutchan City Council. After meetings with both, I invited some of the city councillors to come up to Hirafu in winter to see some of the issues we are facing, specifically about congestion and parking. The massive piles of snow amplify all of the problems, something that needs to be seen with your own eyes.
In their action letter, City Council only mentioned 3 specific, and it is not clear if all of our petition requests will be studied:
- Capacity should be reviewed as necessary, with an eye to the future.
- Height restrictions should be set for the Hanazono area, while considering the current condition.
- Considering the uniqueness of Kutchan Town, it is an effective means to seek the opinions of people with specialized knowledge, to create safety and comfort in the area.
Moving forward, it is imperative that Kutchan Town engage a resort planner with experience creating vibrant and sustainable international resorts. As a community can leverage on their experiences planning resorts around the world. Most resorts have problems related to crowding, parking, and infrastructure, issues also facing the Niseko resorts. The physical capacity of Mt. Annupuri and Kutchan Town both need an in-depth study. If they make the right changes on paper now, it will save tens of millions of yen in infrastructure costs later on.
One more point we have requested repeatedly is to mandate an appropriate number of useable carpark spaces, inside each development. No more developments that host hundreds of people, but have a pathetic handful of parking spaces! Clearly this is unsustainable. The reaction from Kutchan Town on this point has been weak so far, and Kutchan Town needs to take responsibility for the traffic and parking.
We have this opportunity now to give more feedback and help shape the revised town planning regulations. Whatever your opinions, be active and make them known directly to the Town Planning Department at Kutchan Town: