Put County First!

The President’s Hoot
by Richard H. Baker, Ph.D.
October 2008

Here They Go Again! Less than 2 months after the county commission primary election, the Liberty Park 991 house development is coming back on the commission agenda. Pulled just before the primary, it is coming back! This Developer is taking advantage of a huge Comp Plan loophole to build a large586 acre Planned Development Traditional Neighborhood Design outside the Urban Service Line (USL). This type of development can be considered “inside the urban service area” if any tiny portion of land straddles the USL, which can cascade deep into our finest agriculture lands eventually leading to sprawl. Hopefully, our commissioners, all who ran on keeping development inside the USL, will not approve this 88% outside of the USL, where our county is required to provide services, e.g. water and sewer.

Moreover, this project also wants to transfer density rights from 70 acres (unbuildable wetlands, actually) located inside the USL out to their 516 acre low density land outside the USL. Unfortunately, this is completely the reverse of good planning. These developers want to move density from inside the USL where roads, businesses, fire and police, and water and sewer are readily available into the county’s productive agricultural area where they are not.

Roseate Spoonbills, Glossy Ibis, & a Snowy Egret by Bob Montanaro.

Besides bad planning, this makes no sense especially now when we have so many existing vacant homes and lots available. This Development will require new sources of drinking water since current capacity has been based on houses that are already in the pipeline. County roads in and around the U.S 1, CR 510 and 66th Ave area already require upgrading without the addition of 991 homes, with taxpayers paying, of course.

Once developments are approved, they often come back to get approval of even less desirable adjustments (e.g. Pointe West development, thought originally to be a part of the “New Neighborhood Traditional Urbanism” has now been approved to have standard gated-communities). This could happen to Liberty Park as well, but more importantly it sets a bad example for future new Villages.

Instead our county commissioners should:

  1. Reject Liberty Park, as it sets a dangerous precedent for unwanted and unneeded development outside our boundary area that burdens our natural resources and taxpayers.
  2. Direct planning staff to a) Establish guidelines for transferring development rights to and from the urban service area. b) Revisit all zoning regulations for loopholes such as this one.

Please Email your County Commissioners:

Sandra Bowden – sbowden@ircgov.com
Peter O’Bryan – pobryan@ircgov.com
Wesley Davis – wdavis@ircgov.com
Joe Flescher – jflescher@ircgov.com
Gary Wheeler – gwheeler@ircgov.com

or call them at 567-8000 ext 1490 and tell them you want them to put the County First!

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