12 September 2007

Poor planning

I come from the mindset that we need to be extremely careful in using our land. Once it is built upon, we can never really get it back for agricultural or natural purposes. I have heard that within 40 years Indiana will have no measurable agricultural land left. This should be alarming, should you consider the availability of land for purposes of growing food. Unless we don't care if our children and grandchildren starve.
Now, not that this is just a Hoosier phenomenon, but it does seem that we here in the Midwest have a little different mindset when it comes to land use. We too quickly think of land as an infinite resource. It is not. I think along with this is the whole "my land is mine to do what I want with, to heck with you". I consider myself more of a steward of the land I own; that it will be passed on. This is more Old World thinking-unlike the idea of a limitless wilderness the pioneers sought to tame. This is called sprawl in the 21st century.

Recently our county adopted a new land zoning ordinance. Unfortunately the committee who wrote the ordinance was comprised largely of special interests/developers. We are actually taking a major step backward in our ordinance from the one adopted in the 70's. Of course, it's political. The one "advancement" of the document is that if you (as a non-farmer) live in the country-you have to reserve a strip of ground 30 feet wide on your own property so as not to interfere with farming operations-the farmers demanded this. It seems its ok for them to tell you what you can and can't do with your property-but don't tell them, if they want to split it up into 1 acre housing tracts-for some reason, that's ok.

Too bad, really, that we are so selfish in our own interests that we can't consider the next generation or those to come. Republicans are the worse when it comes to this, when in fact, to be truly conservative, they should be most concerned about the liberal waste of ground. Seems that Republican values somehow stop at the property line. In fact, a more fiscally responsible way to operate county governments is through more restrained ag land development. I thought the most telling thing of a lack of commitment to farmland preservation was a statement on an ag related state website that said they "would not take a position on farmland preservation". Shouldn't they be on the forefront?

We'll learn someday.........when it is too late of course.


PNW Hoosier said...

It is sad that not many are aware of the long term impact of runaway development. I see it first hand out here N of Seattle. It is one endless concrete jungle for about 50 miles north of Seattle.

PNW Hoosier said...

Here is a link to a group here in the Skagit Valley that are dedicated to land preservation www.skagitonians.org