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Slash and burn [was: Re: [Fwd: [urb-eco] 101 Project Could Take 800 Homes]]

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  • Matt Hohmeister
    This is yet another example of the mentality that vehicular movement takes precedence over absolutely everything else, including your private property [which
    Message 1 of 6 , May 8, 2003
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      This is yet another example of the mentality that vehicular movement
      takes precedence over absolutely everything else, including your
      private property [which could be DOT taking domain on your house, or
      Code Enforcement telling you that you must have parking at your
      house].

      I am currently living in an "inner suburb"--house built in 1964, on
      "only" a 14,000 square foot lot [living with parents--I did not choose
      this place :-)]. Down the hill from here, the city has had to buy a
      few houses that were built in the 1970s and demolish them to build a
      new stormwater retention pond. Why do they need a pond? To accomodate
      new suburban development/roads several miles away, leading to another
      problem related to going carfree:

      I see a serious sustainability problem here if we build houses, only
      to be torn down 30 years later to accomodate new development
      elsewhere. Within about a mile of my house, I can count 5 major
      abandoned storefronts: Publix, Winn-Dixie, Discount Auto Parts, Eckerd
      Drugs, and Service Merchandise [they abandoned one store and moved
      into a newly built mall-attached storefront across the street, only to
      go bankrupt 6 years later]. Not one of these stores lasted as long as
      30 yeas. If the abandoned K-Mart [which was razed and replaced by a
      Publix last year] sets any kind of example, these places will spend
      roughly 10 years abandoned [and turn into unofficial homeless
      shelters/crack dealerships] before they are razed to make way for
      other chain stores abanodining their previous property in favor of a
      newer, bigger, relocated store.

      This is "destroying the future generations' life quality" as I can see
      it. Today's new commercial developments are practically disposable,
      or, as I call it, modern-day slash-and-burn. The most recent example
      is that the local Wal-Mart serving the northeast "rich white suburbs"
      has moved about three miles north, abandoning a storefront that was
      less than 20 years old, on a road that I have seen go from 4 to 10
      lanes. So building abandonment is not just for inner suburbs--it's in
      the "rich white suburbs" too.

      If we go carfree, we are going to have to be more sensible in building
      sustainability. A carfree city should not not have abandoned 10,000
      square foot stores all over the place. Since our carfree city would
      not have land-use policies encouraging slash-and-burn [and developers
      know that they won't be getting free roads and stormwater], they
      ideally would start accomodating business change by remodeling
      existing builings.

      A different version of this happens with residences too. I don't see
      it as common to have an old quality house razed [except for the
      super-expensive canal-front properties in south Florida, where wealthy
      land buyers will have 5 year old McMansions razed for their own
      custom-built McMansions], but I've heard some people say that old
      houses are for "starting out" your family, and once you reach your 40s
      and have the money, you should buy a lot and have a new house
      custom-built. I'm sorry, but that's just not very sustainable.

      We also need to stop building ultracheap new houses with plastic
      interior doors, styrofoam-like synthetic stucco, slab foundations, and
      the like. The only way I can see to do this it to enforce a stricter
      residential building code, since commercial home builders seem less
      likely these days to care enough to build decent houses.

      Plus, this accounts for a lot of concrete, wood, steel, and everything
      else that goes into a building.

      > > Nearly 800 residences, including houses and apartment buildings,
      could
      > > be demolished to make way for the proposed widening of the Ventura
      > > Freeway from Studio City to Thousand Oaks, according to the
      California
      > > Department of Transportation.

      > Effectively those planners are just fools. I wonder why they're not
      fired,
      > because they're destroying the future generations' life quality in
      that
      > area, even if one's home is not demolished.
    • Patrick J McDonough
      Matt, Check this out- Charlotte requires money to tear down vacant big boxes up front now. http://www.charlotte.com/mld/observer/news/local/3484745.htm Get out
      Message 2 of 6 , May 8, 2003
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        Matt,

        Check this out- Charlotte requires money to tear down vacant big boxes up
        front now.

        http://www.charlotte.com/mld/observer/news/local/3484745.htm

        Get out and fight for these kind of things in your town- they're not
        perfect, and they still acknowledge a commitment to courting big-box
        retail development, but they do put it in a more sustainable context.

        Patrick McDonough

        > Within about a mile of my house, I can count 5 major
        > abandoned storefronts: Publix, Winn-Dixie, Discount Auto Parts, Eckerd
        > Drugs, and Service Merchandise [they abandoned one store and moved
        > into a newly built mall-attached storefront across the street, only to
        > go bankrupt 6 years later]. Not one of these stores lasted as long as
        > 30 yeas. If the abandoned K-Mart [which was razed and replaced by a
        > Publix last year] sets any kind of example, these places will spend
        > roughly 10 years abandoned [and turn into unofficial homeless
        > shelters/crack dealerships] before they are razed to make way for
        > other chain stores abanodining their previous property in favor of a
        > newer, bigger, relocated store.
      • Matt Hohmeister
        Developers have countered that the chains that stamp out big boxes will simply move outside the county limits if they can t build what they want within
        Message 3 of 6 , May 8, 2003
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          "Developers have countered that the chains that stamp out big boxes
          will simply move outside the county limits if they can't build what
          they want within Charlotte's planning jurisdiction, which includes
          much of the unincorporated part of the county."

          Call me a paranoid doomsayer, but I have a feeling that this will
          happen here. The Tallahassee city limits do not blanket the whole
          county--in fact, the city limit lines are pretty much gerrymandered,
          snaking out to reach some suburbs that want to be in an incorporated
          city, and bouncing back where there are neighborhoods whose residents
          don't want to pay city property tax.

          I believe our new Wal-Mart is outside the city limits [unincorporated
          Leon County], nixing any city ordinances. Our sprawl hinges on the
          ever-changing city lines, and I fear the day when it reaches the
          county line and we start getting suburban sprawl in south Georgia.
          That's when the political nightmares would start with who is
          responsible for roads, schools, and emergency services.

          As much as I really don't want to see the carnage, I will be
          interested to see what happens to our suburbs in the long run, say,
          the next 50 years. Suburbs really aren't old enough to see the true
          test of time--Tallahassee's oldest sprawl-malls were built in the
          1970s. Are we going to continue a slash-and-burn cycle? Will my kids
          know a true urban area where Mom or Dad don't have to drive them
          everywhere? I hate to discuss family, but will my hypothetical wife
          insist on living in a suburb to escape the deteriorating urban
          neighborhoods? I honestly do not want my children to spend 18 years
          living in a vinyl McHouse and attending a school that looks more like
          an aircraft hangar, complete with 100-yard grass buffers on all sides
          and chainlink fences.

          Am I ranting? Yes. Am I paranoid? Yes. Am I looking too far forward?
          Maybe. However, these are legitimate concerns. I have lived in seven
          different residences my whole life, the oldest built in 1918, the
          newest, 1972. I've been fortunate to always live in a convenient
          location. My children might not be as fortunate to have such choices.

          If my son stays after school for a band rehearsal, I want him to be
          able to reasonably walk home. I don't want to hear my children whining
          about having cars from 16th birthday to the day I give them cars. Oh
          yeah--and I don't want a deputy at my door to tell me that my daughter
          died in a car accident.

          I guess I'll have to wait it out to see what happens.

          > Matt,
          >
          > Check this out- Charlotte requires money to tear down vacant big
          boxes up
          > front now.
          >
          > http://www.charlotte.com/mld/observer/news/local/3484745.htm
          >
          > Get out and fight for these kind of things in your town- they're not
          > perfect, and they still acknowledge a commitment to courting big-box
          > retail development, but they do put it in a more sustainable
          context.
          >
        • Patrick McDonough
          Matt wrote: Call me a paranoid doomsayer, but Okay, you re a paranoid doomsayer. I sympathize with your frustration, but don t let it lead to paralysis. I
          Message 4 of 6 , May 9, 2003
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            Matt wrote:
            "Call me a paranoid doomsayer, but"

            Okay, you're a paranoid doomsayer. I sympathize with your frustration, but
            don't let it lead to paralysis. I highly doubt a big box ordinance like
            Charlotte's will drive where big boxes get built as much as roadway
            improvements and population. Of course, assuming there is some kind of
            county, you could get them to pass a similar ordinance. The rural character
            argument will probably resonate with either.

            One thing the boxes don't want you to know is that they pick their locations
            very carefully, and then threaten to move if they don't get their way. A
            lot of them will make concessions in order to be in a prime retail location.
            Of course, getting politicians to stand on such firm ground is the trick.

            Anyway- you're certainly allowed to be angry with the status quo; I know,
            I've been there. However, find an idea for change and improvement you can
            get behind, and stick with it. That's the best way to help ensure your kid
            can one day walk home from band practice, unless he's got an interest in the
            tuba.
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