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Smart Growth's Misunderstood Message
Washington Post ^ | 16 October 2004 | Roger K. Lewis

Posted on 12/01/2004 4:11:17 PM PST by Lorianne

In the rancorous political environment of this year's presidential election campaign, American voters seem to be polarized as never before. In the environment of real estate development and land-use planning, opinions about "smart growth" are becoming just as polarized.

Smart growth proponents and opponents are drawing ever sharper lines, honing ever narrower definitions and more assertively taking sides. "Either with me or against me" attitudes seem to prevail among both advocates and critics.

Unfortunately, overly polarized discourse is inherently obstructive and misleading. It distorts and oversimplifies, obscuring rather than illuminating complex realities that are variable with time, place and resources.

Sharp division into factions inevitably occurs when people resist dealing with complexity. Unwilling or unable to analyze the multiple, substantive aspects of a complex issue, some people are naturally drawn to boiled-down versions. Never mind the facts -- just a few, succinct black-or-white highlights.

Regrettably, smart growth is suffering this fate. The term is being used more and more as a defining label, as if it were a code word for a specific cause or movement zealously espoused by faithful adherents.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: landuse; planning; propertyrights; smartgrowth
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1 posted on 12/01/2004 4:11:18 PM PST by Lorianne
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To: Lorianne

You forgot the Gag Alert. ;)


2 posted on 12/01/2004 4:20:45 PM PST by Jotmo ("Voon", said the mattress.)
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To: Lorianne
The Washington Compost is all about smart growth.

Smart growth is nothing but NIMBYism. I can't stand all these @ssholes who move to Loudoun County and then want to close the gates for the rest of the folks fleeing the People's Republic's of Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax.

3 posted on 12/01/2004 4:22:03 PM PST by fhillary2 (Native Virginian)
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To: Lorianne

"Smart Growth" = billions in dollars spent on a light rail system here in NC that even its supporters admit will not 1)reduce congestion on our roads, 2) reduce pollution, 3) pay for itself.

Dumb idea.


4 posted on 12/01/2004 4:34:22 PM PST by Rammer
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To: fhillary2
Its worse than nimbyism. It is anti-property rights, it creates a planned society in the model of the soviet union. Smart growth designs are done in such a way to socially engineer residents into a collectivist ideology, instead of permitting America's hallmark of individualism. No amount of equivocating by authors such as this one, can change that.
5 posted on 12/01/2004 4:36:06 PM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: fhillary2

For a top-notch rebuttal and expose to so-called "Smart Growth," refer to www.americandreamcoalition.org.

Randal O'Toole is the executive director and a delivers a first rate presentation.


6 posted on 12/01/2004 4:37:26 PM PST by taxcutisapayraise
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To: Lorianne
Bigtime BARF alert!!

Other Dangerous buzzwords:

Green Build

Cluster Housing

Infill Incentives

Wetland Mitigation

Reduced Impact

Retro Fill

Green-ways

Wildlife Corridor

Heritage Area

Nature Conservancy

Eminent Domain

ad nauseum - Just more leftist environazi tricksterism for taking away your constitutionally guranteed property rights. Fight these abuses like all of your rights are in jeopardy.

See http://www.prfamerica.org/ for indeph coverage of property rights abuses across America. - and what you can do to help STOP it.

7 posted on 12/01/2004 4:40:34 PM PST by xcamel (W2: Four more years of Tax Cuts and Dead Terrorists)
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To: fhillary2

Exactly. When they say (gasp!) "sprawl" they mean the house built after theirs.


8 posted on 12/01/2004 4:43:06 PM PST by NYpeanut (gulping for air, I started crying and yelling at him, "Why did you lie to me?")
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To: xcamel

My favorite: "view shed"


9 posted on 12/01/2004 4:43:58 PM PST by NYpeanut (gulping for air, I started crying and yelling at him, "Why did you lie to me?")
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To: xcamel
I-95 is all anyone needs to know about smart growth. Lots of trees, not much development and VERY little movement of auto traffic.
10 posted on 12/01/2004 4:50:22 PM PST by keithtoo (Defeat Le' Partie' Democratique)
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To: hedgetrimmer
You are exactly right.

We have been polarized over SG here for 10 years. Last year, the township voted to NOT join other townships to pool resources to pay for the study proposed by the grants facilitator. $25k to *study* the matter. Don't know what the next move will be, but the perps have been publicly quiet for several months. They are most likely still having their secret meetings on how to convince the rest of us, just as they have for years.

Smart Growth imposes land use regulations in perpetuity. IOW, a given parcel can never be split up and can never be used for any use other than whatever it is used for now.

Our county is about 30k population. The largest town is 4k and has doubled in 30 years, with the usual strain on infrastructure and increases in taxes and fees. There is no way any mass transit could work here. But more and more of the land is being bought by people with large bank accounts gained from selling real estate in urban areas. Fewer people farm. Those not under ag classification for property tax purposes are paying through the nose for their 6k sq ft starter castles and they feel perfectly capable of telling the rest of us what to do.
11 posted on 12/01/2004 4:51:32 PM PST by reformedliberal
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To: Rammer

Yes and they say building more roads will only cause more congestion. If that were true they could solve Charlotte's traffic problems by closing I-485 and half the lanes on I-85 and I-77. Read my tagline.


12 posted on 12/01/2004 4:53:44 PM PST by csmusaret (Urban Sprawl is an oxymoron)
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To: Rammer

Here smart growth is a auto inspection program that is supposed to control pollution, but doesn't. Whenever the left calls something smart, it means it seems smart to them, but everyone else is screwed.

The left calls Bush dumb and thinks of themselves as smart. They are so smart they have almost destroyed their party in the last three elections. Yet, they call Bush dumb and he runs rings around them. Seems like they may not be as smart as they think they are.


13 posted on 12/01/2004 5:08:36 PM PST by shubi (Peace through superior firepower.)
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To: Lorianne

Smart Growth doesn't work. So, the proponents of Smart Growth say that opposition to a failed system is polarizing. How did we get here? Is there no reason left?


14 posted on 12/01/2004 5:34:43 PM PST by caisson71
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To: Lorianne

Liberals will try anything to keep families with children from moving out of cities.


15 posted on 12/01/2004 8:20:31 PM PST by valkyrieanne (card-carrying South Park Republican)
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To: farmfriend


16 posted on 12/01/2004 10:22:23 PM PST by Libertarianize the GOP (Make all taxes truly voluntary)
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To: hedgetrimmer; eldoradude; Phil V.; Not just another dumb blonde; jcon40
"Either with me or against me" attitudes seem to prevail among both advocates and critics."

This is patently untrue! It always begins and ends with the "advocates" or activists! Rather than debate issues if one should even question their point of view, they pre-emptively exclaim: "You just want to pave the entire county over, don't you!"

These pukes have turned my county virtually into a middle eastern war zone over what should have been a relatively simple update to the General Plan in the past dozen years.

Lives, fortunes, retirement plans and entrepreneurial dreams have been shattered and only the consultants and attorneys have been enriched. Ballot measure wars, political wars, bitter disputes that have ruined long standing good will... it's been foisted on us by a hand full of arrogant bastards who wish to bend everyone to their juvenile will!!!

Their "vision" for our future has turned paradise into a frozen landscape where their only solution to everything is suffocation of any economic progress. They seem to have unlimited time and resources and massive networks. We cannot spare the amount of time an resources they commit and still maintain our personal economic stability. They get grants and we don't even have time to apply...

Their latest coup is to get the Governor (a Republican) to foist a land CONservancy over the entire Sierra-Nevada to spread their brand of economic terrorism far and wide.

17 posted on 12/01/2004 10:47:22 PM PST by SierraWasp (Ronald Reagan was an exceptional "celebrity!" Jesse Ventura & Arnold Schwarzenrenegger are NOT!!!)
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To: csmusaret

You're correct, Sergeant Major.

I'd gladly let them have 3 or 4 arenas if they did away with the trains and gave us an extra six lanes (three in each direction) on 77, 85, 485, and Independence. An extra couple lanes on Randolph, Providence, etc. etc would be nice too.


18 posted on 12/02/2004 5:47:22 AM PST by Rammer
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Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

To: xcamel
Other Dangerous buzzwords:

Stakeholder!
Non-owners claiming ownership priviliges.

20 posted on 12/02/2004 10:00:09 AM PST by Semper Paratus (Michael)
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To: FrankWild; Lorianne; Jotmo; fhillary2; hedgetrimmer; xcamel; NYpeanut; reformedliberal; ...
fighting sprawl

Your beef should with your politicians who make corrupt deals with developers to promote smart growth. When individuals are allowed to develop their own land, and individual lots are sold for individuals to develop, you get reasonable densities and usually the character and charm that an individual can apply to their property.

When you "fight sprawl" you are allowing the government to control the housing market and development and you tempt elected and other officials to corruption when they start making sweetheart deals with large developers. New London Connecticut is a prime example.

In California, "green developers" cut deals with corrupt politiicans and shut the individual single family home buyer out of the market for land (not pre-built homes).Because the government is controlling the housing market, individuals who wish to purchase homes have to buy homes on the postage stamp sized lots that the government considers appropriate density. There is no choice in these developments if a person wants 1/3, 1/2 or a one acre lot.

If you love your county and the land you live on, you would oppose the high densities that smart growth requires. High densities create more pollution, more congestion and less privacy than most Americans want. By creating unnatural "edges" around cities and neigborhoods (smart growth principles do not allow town to merge into country but must have well defined boundaries) you create a fortess look and psychology for the town or neighborhood,rather than a more natural blending of the two. This psychological feel is intended by smart growth developers, because their goal is behavior modification.

Smart growth promoted by government is out of place in a free country populated by free people. It is very much in place with the Soviet Union and collective centralized government control of housing.
21 posted on 12/02/2004 10:14:38 AM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: FrankWild
conserve the organic neighborhoods of the county

There is no such thing as an organic neighborhood in smart growth. You are not allowed to change your home in a smart growth development the way you wish. You are restricted by numerous covenants and regulations. Most smart growth developments are identical to each other, they have restrictive covenants on property, they limit your ability to use and drive cars, they force you into public spaces because smart growthers don't believe in privacy or private property. By trying to preserve a "view" as in the beautiful environment, you are stealing private property rights from individuals protected by the Constitution.
22 posted on 12/02/2004 10:20:27 AM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: Lorianne
My own neighborhood, the tree-filled Palisades area of Washington, could be a model. In this older, moderately dense Northwest neighborhood there are single-family houses, duplexes, row houses and apartment buildings. I can comfortably walk or bike to the grocery store and drugstore, several restaurants, numerous convenience stores, a full-service gas station, two banks, three dry cleaners, a Starbuck's, a travel agency, a public elementary school, a federal park and a D.C. park with tennis courts, playground, tot lot and recreation center. Although the nearest subway stop is a bit far, the bus stop is one block away.

The only thing I really care about having within walking distance of my house is the mailbox. I won't mess with yours if you don't mess with mine.

23 posted on 12/02/2004 10:34:12 AM PST by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: FrankWild
What will likely happen in your county, if land use restrictions work as they have in other places is that the old time residents, many of whom are descendants of colonial settlers, who are the GOP voters, will leave the county for the Eastern Shore or rural Virginia, where they can still live a rural lifestyle. Rich liberals will move in from the closer in suburbs of Washington, gentrifying the antebellum housing stock or meeting stringent building codes. In 15 years, your county will be an East Coast version of Marin County. It will be as reliably Democrat as is Baltimore.

"Smart growth" clears areas of lower income whites and blacks as effectively as "uncontrolled" growth. Agriculture and blue collar operations suffer because lower income people can no longer afford to live there. Additionally, Bubba and Bubette are just not comfortable around Biff and Buffy, and vice versa. Gentlemen farmers buy out traditional farmers to obtain "protected" farm land for their weekend retreats. Real farmers retire or move to other locations. The country ceases to be in crop or livestock production and reverts to forest or brush. This development brings in wild animals. Since Biff and Buffy obtained their view of animals from "Bambi" and "Born Free," they are anti-hunting. Not long thereafter, the countryside is overpopulated with deer, which bring coyotes and other predators. Sometimes, those predators will just as soon snack on the family's dog or cat, or even an unfortunate jogger or two.

Socialism in the name of conservation works no better than socialism in the name of the proletariat.

24 posted on 12/02/2004 10:51:13 AM PST by Wallace T.
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To: Wallace T.

Well said, Wallace T.


25 posted on 12/02/2004 11:00:45 AM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: Jotmo

Most "sprawl" is caused by local zoning ordinances adopted after WWII. Get rid of zoning and developers will use land in a more efficient manner and "sprawl" will be minimized.


26 posted on 12/02/2004 11:02:47 AM PST by Edmund Burke
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To: tacticalogic

Correct, as it should be. Let the market decide.
Unfortunately, zoning laws over the last 50 years have not let the market decide.


29 posted on 12/02/2004 11:57:47 AM PST by Lorianne
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To: FrankWild

Zoning laws infringe on the free market. People should be able to live on smaller parcels of land if they wish. And developers should be able to develop their properties in the way they see fit.

Zoning laws are more coercive than "smart growth".


30 posted on 12/02/2004 11:59:17 AM PST by Lorianne
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To: FrankWild
I think there is a big difference between Maryland and NY where plans to depopulate the Catskills (NYC watershed) have been afoot for years, Economic disenfranchisement of the communities in the Adirondacks, Draconian EnCon requirements and building moratoriums abound. You just can't decide one day "I got mine, now screw you!". Equal protection under the law is just as important as equal rights. And without steadfast property rights laws, you have no rights at all.
31 posted on 12/02/2004 12:00:06 PM PST by xcamel (W2: Four more years of Tax Cuts and Dead Terrorists)
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To: SierraWasp

Zoning laws for the last 50 years have created the same havoc you mention in relation to "smart growth". Telling people how to use thier property is the same coercive anti-property rights thing ... no matter who does it.


32 posted on 12/02/2004 12:01:19 PM PST by Lorianne
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To: Edmund Burke

Correct !


33 posted on 12/02/2004 12:01:45 PM PST by Lorianne
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To: hedgetrimmer

Zoning laws of the last 50+ years are no different than current "smart growth" proposals. Both limit the free market and private property owner's discretion.


34 posted on 12/02/2004 12:03:42 PM PST by Lorianne
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To: Lorianne
Correct, as it should be. Let the market decide.

If the day comes when "the market" decides I need to move, how will that decision be manifested?

35 posted on 12/02/2004 12:06:33 PM PST by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: Lorianne
In reality, smart growth is a broad term encompassing a broad public policy goal: to wisely plan, distribute and manage physical growth to achieve objectives on which most citizens agree.

NOPE, "Smart Growth" deserves the perjorative connotation. It's a 60's Utopian concept designed to redistribute funes from red suburbs to blue cities so that the cities can afford to pay their bloated public payrolls. It's also anti- personal property rights. It's basically an anti-capitalist concept and deserves to be mocked and denied.

36 posted on 12/02/2004 12:11:31 PM PST by 1Old Pro
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To: FrankWild
No comparison is perfect, of course. Your county is still a bit distant from Baltimore or Washington. That is not the case with Marin County, just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. However, the same dynamics are likely to take place in Queen Anne's County. The watermen and other blue collar types are probably going to head out due to the chance to make a profit on real estate, increased taxes due to the greater demands of the exurbanites for schools and public works, and general discomfort with people that are "not their kind" culturally, though not racially. Thus, a large chunk of the Republican base will disappear into Virginia or more rural parts of Maryland. Then people from places like Montgomery County, who blame increasing problems in their home county on uncontrolled growth rather than excessive spending by local governments on anything other than highways and transit will see Queen Anne's County as the new frontier. Throw in some Federal or public school retirees, especially those with dual incomes into the mix.

Counties do not stay static politically. Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York were Republican bastions, regularly the latter, which represents the eastern half of Long Island. Due to demographic changes, they went from solid "red" to reliably "blue". Queen Anne's County will change politically. But if your zoning laws discourage the middle class with families, who tend to be more conservative from settling, but invites upper middle income, often childless couples, often with graduate degrees, who lean toward liberalism, to move in, the change will away from the GOP.

Impelling lower class families to leave and discouraging the middle class from moving in to offset the upper class migrants will have the likely consequence of creating another silk stocking, liberal jurisdiction.

38 posted on 12/02/2004 12:19:48 PM PST by Wallace T.
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To: 1Old Pro

Smart Growth is only a new term for a new type of zoning. It is just as bad as, but not worse than, other types of zoning.

The problem is the concept of zoning, which is not a new thing.

My take: Let the market decide. Zonging laws of the last 50+ years have prohibited developers from providng a variety of products ... which the property buying public would choose the way they wish to live.


39 posted on 12/02/2004 12:22:25 PM PST by Lorianne
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To: FrankWild

I do not know who Russell Kirk is. Any information?


40 posted on 12/02/2004 12:23:03 PM PST by Lorianne
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To: FrankWild

That may be true, but it's no different telling others what they can do with their property than what "smart growth" proposes. It's still anti-property rights and anti-free market, whether the outcome is good or bad.


45 posted on 12/02/2004 3:10:48 PM PST by Lorianne
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To: NYpeanut
Ha! Exactly.

I was on my city's Parks a Recreation Committee for a while. The city was going to build a park on and old unused piece of property outside the city proper. At the meeting, people who lived around the property showed up, some to complain. One guy who lived across the river from the property stated in on a rant about how he wanted the property returned to nature, (It was a small farm). Another guy piped up "You mean like it was before YOUR house was built". That stopped his rant cold. He sat down a shut up.

Classic.

46 posted on 12/02/2004 8:20:07 PM PST by Jotmo ("Voon", said the mattress.)
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To: fhillary2
I can't stand all these @ssholes who move to Loudoun County and then want to close the gates

Loudoun's fate is sealed. Rt 15 is already gridlocked. Loudoun shuts down when there's an accident on that two lane road.

I fled Fairfax 75 miles south to the mountains some 25 years ago and never regretted my decision.

But growth is catching up and unless the housing market soon crashes, I may be forced to relocate another 75 miles SW.


BUMP

49 posted on 12/03/2004 6:17:10 AM PST by tm22721 (In fac they)
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To: Lorianne

I don't want to step on anyone's toes, but I would like to see new towns built as opposed to new developments. Right here in Alexandria, we see a glaring example in Kingstowne off Van Dorn Street. Across the street from a shopping plaza (bix box stores in the strip mall variety- not attractive but useful) is a new subdivision development of townhouses. But the residents have to get in their cars to cross the street to go to TJ Maxx or Walmart. You are taking your life in your hands by attempting to cross the heavy traffic to get to the stores. It's innane.

Also, the majority of these subdivisions are built with no sidewalks in them. That paired with all traffic being vehicular, it is a daunting task to take your baby out for a stroll in the carriage.


50 posted on 12/03/2004 6:27:58 AM PST by clarissaexplainsitall (stewed tomatoes are just plain gross)
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