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Local government should reflect local concerns - Comments (0)
Carole McWilliams - 8/18/2011
Conservative political ideology says government should get out of the way, stop over-taxing and over-regulating, and everyone will live happily ever after.
This argument is local as well as national, as county planning commissioners have made wholesale deletions from a draft comprehensive plan, and now effectively put the whole thing on hold for a possible do-over. Hopefully the result will be a better plan.
But there seems to be an amazing faith locally and nationally that, left to their own devices, businesses and developers will act honorably and everyone will benefit.
Yes, many business people and developers do act honorably and are very community-minded, but there are always bad apples. Regulations are made for them. It’s an ongoing balancing act to have enough regulation to stop the bad apples, but without strangling honorable businesses in red tape or compliance costs.
Over the years, I’ve seen developers who will do the shoddiest job of installing infrastructure that they can get away with, and taxpayers are left to fix the problem later – after the developer has made his money and left town.
Forest Lakes, with 1,700 town-sized lots plunked onto a steep hillside, is an example of development unencumbered by pesky regulations. It was platted in the late 1960s.
The out- of-town developer created a maze of roads with very similar names (great for emergency responders) and one way in and out.
In the early 1990s, an out- of-town developer bought up a bunch of lots, many of them steep, and built homes designed for flat lots. What a surprise when steep driveways channeled runoff directly into garages and living rooms! Those homes were plagued by shoddy construction, and several local subcontractors didn’t get paid for their work.
Yes, let’s have a discussion of the role of government in protecting people from less than honorable operators, and the role of government in general (locally and nationally).
But for now, our county commissioners seem to have stacked the planning commission with people who think government should have no role in how the county develops.
And the comp plan process is now being driven by a small but very vocal group of citizens who see a United Nations world government plot in all this.
The county has a diverse population politically, and the planning commission should better reflect that — not just one end of the political spectrum.
A lot of us think the comp plan and land use regulations should reflect local needs and concerns, and not be skewed by whatever the UN might be for or against.