Status: 02.10.2023, 05:30 a.m.
By: Andrea Kästle
Around 50 visitors, some of them slightly heated: Discussion in Baierbrunn before the referendum. © Andrea Kässle
The mood at the panel discussion before the referendum on the school meadow deal in Baierbrunn was tense. It is about construction plans in the landscape conservation area.
Baierbrunn – For decades, there has been a struggle in Baierbrunn for the school meadow opposite the school that the school needs for breaks and, at the moment, also for lunchtime care. The municipality now wants to buy the area from the family that owns it – but in return it would have to grant it and two other owners building rights on an adjacent strip, which is also located in the landscape conservation area. Exactly whether the municipality should get involved in the deal, a referendum will take place on Sunday, October 8, in the small municipality, set up by the "Perspektive Baierbrunn" and the Bund Naturschutz.
Panel discussion one week before the referendum
At a panel discussion a week before the vote, it became clear that the fronts on the doorstep have hardened quite a bit. It was not for nothing that former mayor Wolfgang Jirschik (ÜWG), who confidently moderated the evening, had called on all participants to "remain objective" right at the beginning.
Questions from the audience to the three on the podium
On the podium in the sports and civic center sat Jirschik's successor Patrick Ott (also ÜWG), who had proposed the whole thing to his municipal council at the end of December 2022 in order to finally create clear conditions around the school location; as well as "Perspektiven" founder Jan Biener and Bund Naturschutz chairman Stefan Zenz. Jirschik first asked them three questions, then the approximately 50 visitors, including owners, were allowed to speak.
Lease agreement for school meadow expires
At some point during the evening, when there was a lot of talk about how important it is for the children to have exercise and not "have to look at nature through a fence like animals in the zoo" (Ott), a woman asked: "Why is the school meadow not just leased to the municipality by the owners?"
One visitor speaks of "blackmail"
This is exactly the point that the municipality is arguing about – the administration gets the leases for the school meadow, on which the containers for lunchtime care are currently located, on which vegetable patches have been laid out and a green classroom has also been set up, only for one year at a time, the current contract expires at the end of December. Ott says: "There is no option for us to get the meadow in any other way." The last visitor to speak spoke of "blackmail", but was put in his place by Jirschick.
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Fancy a voyage of discovery?
Otherwise, in the two and a half hours, the arguments that all parties, including the owners, have already distributed to the households on flyers or in the municipal gazette, were repeated in the two and a half hours. Biener and Zenz emphasized that a play area for children could just as well be created north of the gymnasium, where the municipality owns land anyway. Zenz: "In any case, we can come up with a great solution for the existing school." Ott: "Construction will be considerably cheaper and faster if we have the school meadow available."
Municipality would also get a strip of Hermann Roth-Straße
In addition, if the deal is implemented, the owners will also give a strip of Hermann Roth-Straße, which is also an eternal topic of contention, then the street could be designated as traffic-calmed, Ott added.
The beauty of Baierbrunn "also preserved for the children" - but how? Stefan Zenz, Jan Biener, Wolfgang Jirschik and Mayor Patrick Ott (from left) on the podium. © Andrea Kästle
Owners also have their say
Of the visitors who said something afterwards, most of them already had an opinion on the topic. One of the owners, Hannes Röck, said that they had a "right to property" and that his children should also be able to continue living in Baierbrunn. Monika Stockinger-Knab, also the owner, accused Biener of living in Hermann-Roth-Straße on a plot of land that had been taken out of the landscape conservation area before his time.
Question about the resignation of Mayor Ott
A primary school teacher said that teachers and children always find a solution for breaks, no matter how little space is available. Ott also said that evening that he was sure that the council petition that the municipality had contrasted with the citizens' petition would go through. One listener asked, "Will you resign if the referendum wins?"
Whatever the outcome, peace should reign afterwards
That if the school meadow is no longer available from January 2024, Mitti will have to move to the flower field on the other side of the B11; that in any case, the current municipal council will feel permanently bound by the outcome of the decision, that the Bund Naturschutz, should it lose, will then also come to terms with it: the final statements. The last word was given to Jirschik, who asked the participants to approach each other after the vote, whatever the outcome: "Then shake hands."