sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Monday, January 17, 2005

The debate over smart growth and urban sprawl continues.

Wharton puts out the word (I actually heard about it through Cone) about a Bush EPA official coming to town to present Greensboro with a Smart Growth Award. He'll also give a presentation, "Myths and Facts About Smart Growth Approaches to Development." Anyone care to speculate on what a Bush official has to say about smart growth?

Then there's this letter to the editor (keep scrolling) from Robin Parker, who weighs in on the article "Planners preach value of density."

Ms. Parker refers to Mayor Holliday's statement that "It scares people to death" when talk arises of condos being built nearby.

"There are valid reasons people should be scared," Ms. Parker writes. "Is there anyone in Greensboro who can't wait to have condos or townhomes in their back yard?"

But she doesn't let the other shoe drop. Is she against development altogether, or does she not care as long it's not in her back yard? I was interested to know. The problem is, if you're going to have infill development, then you're going to have to build in someone's back yard.

Which brings me to the planning and zoning commission meeting, which I watched on TV the other night. I saw the case where Betty "Lake Jeanette" Smith wants to put some attached single-family homes off New Garden Road and was requesting a zoning change.

One lady spoke out against the project, saying too many trees would be cut down. But zoning commissioner Gary Wolff reminded her that, had someone wanted to put up single-family homes, which are permitted under the current zoning, then more trees would be cut down because that type of development is not subject to the tree ordinance, as are developments with higher densities.

I'm not making light of the lady's concern for trees. I'm just highlighting the many complexities surrounding planning and zoning commissions already deal with on a regular basis. They do a good job, in my opinion.


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