Low impact development should be included
We attended the 8/19 Civil Discourse Meeting on Smart Growth. We appreciated speaker Clay Ervin sharing his insight and professional knowledge about the system. However, what we heard was not “smart growth” nor “balance,” but rather a system that is significantly tilted in favor of developer rights over the rights of citizens and incumbent residential property owners and the community, at-large. The numerous recent rezonings, special exception allowances, Planned Business Development “loopholes,” and overriding of the Comprehensive Plan underscores this point.
Our Wetland Rules have been weakened, and there is no justification for retention ponds the size of football fields. Among other things, Smart Growth should include Low Impact Development. LID uses the existing natural vegetation for stormwater management and filtration, and is an alternative to clear-cutting trees and building retention ponds. City Engineer Shawn Finley has written an award-winning manual on LID, yet it is not being used.
Furthermore, “chasing the market” does not sound like a good long-term strategy. Even from a fiscal-standpoint, this has proven to be flawed in that local municipalities are short on needed revenue for infrastructure. With the current system, growth has not paid for itself.
Overdevelopment is a valid concept that needs to be addressed. What we gathered from Clay Ervin is that there are only two remedies: Litigation and/or Governance. Given that the average citizenry does not have the means for the former, a review of the laws and elected decision-makers is needed at the city, county, and state Levels.
Ken and Julie Sipes