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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Comprehensive Plan Grows A Poor Future

The most pressing issue facing the future of the city of Janesville, even more than the discussion of what to do with the empty GM plant, is the debate raging over the city’s one and only comprehensive growth plan.

The same old growth plan of the past has been rehashed and is being defended by old world academics schooled in peer comparisons, obsolete trends, active redundancy and “walking dead” growth economics built on a pro-sprawl template, against a group of brave new rethinkers with growth values prioritized on current realities, best use sustainability, re-investment targets and infrastructure efficiencies.

Over the past several decades, the paving over and development of some of the deepest and richest topsoil surrounding Janesville has not only come at the expense of a blighted and skeletonized inner city, it has come at a cost considered nothing less than generational theft. While the current state of the economy has slowed the pave-over pace of the farmland, if only for the moment, the comprehensive plan as it stands guarantees a return consistent to old world economics in a local environment that has seen breathtaking change accelerate in just the last few months.

Endorsing this plan simply because we spent two years collecting information and involving unprecedented public input is a poor reason if we allow ourselves to be limited to a single growth template. By endorsing this one plan, future generations won’t even know what was stolen from them. By endorsing this one plan, we will have let the next ten months go to waste. By endorsing this plan, city council members and other plan supporters are basically saying they believe little has changed around Janesville since 1920.

By endorsing this plan, city officials will renew their power to confiscate the inheritance of future generations and hand it over to venture capitalists. This plan empowers developers to salt some of the finest soil on Earth with concrete and asphalt for the next twenty-five years.

Fortunately, there is still time to acquire fresh data and reload into different growth templates. Now is the time to take inventory and index best use priorities in the new economy. Eight months is plenty of time to craft and present the plans so community representatives can better choose the right one to propel Janesville into the forefront of a new living economy.

On Monday, March 9th, the Janesville City Council will be voting on the deeply flawed Comprehensive Plan. If endorsed, this plan will set Janesville on a irreversible course to gobble up the last of the best farmland in the United States.

This one choice is no choice – it must be rejected.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Right on Lou! Now to get the Council to choose a different path.

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