Friday, December 08, 2006

Why the Moratorium is a Good Idea

Calm down, Dan.
Yes, the Montgomery County Council is now considering a building moratorium. This is after a solid decade of growth in the county, with new buildings popping up all over like... well... Poppies . Some of those projects have been hugely successful, and a boon to the community, like the redevelopment of downtown Silver Spring. Some have been a burden on the county, putting additional stress on congested roads, over-crowded schools, and the county's streams and wetlands. Some of the projects have even been built outside, above, or around the limits imposed on them by a planning board that was too understaffed, underfunded, or just too distracted to notice.
And lately, there's been too much of the latter and not enough of the former.
Which is why it makes sense to pause briefly, take a deep breath, and figure out how we want our county to grow in the future. Growth is, after all, inevitable. The county government needs to figure out what our priorities are, how to achieve those priorities through the planning process, and how to make sure Clarksburg never happens again. That is what's called responsible government.
It's not, as some might have you believe, a result of marauding crowds of NIMBYs laying siege to the County Council building. Nor is it an attempt to toss aside a forty-year legacy of innovative planning (and I assume here that we're referring to innovations by county planners rather than by those who found innovative ways to build homes in Clarksburg). Nor, as others would have it, is the County Council taking the bat to churchgoing grandmothers and the poor - who don't, by the way, really benefit from McMansions, despite propaganda to the contrary.
It's an attempt to amend and extend the county's planning so we can avoid runaway development. The council wants to move towards developing transit-oriented, sustainable communities with functional schools and roads rather than a county of houses on highway off-ramps. A year to breathe, and then back to a healthier version of growth than in the past.
Breathe, Dan, breathe. The sky isn't falling.

7 Comments:

Blogger Sara da Muse said...

Here, here!

12/09/2006 01:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We'll be wondering where all the jobs went in a couple of years. Despite what Praisner and Elrich would have you believe, not all growth is bad. We need growth to keep building our tax base and creating jobs.

12/09/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Eric Luedtke said...

Find me a single quote, anywhere, from any time, of either Marilyn Praisner or Marc Elrich arguing that, "All growth is bad," and I'll eat my shoe.

12/09/2006 04:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd prefer if you didn't take such a condescending tone with me because I don't agree with the current state of affairs in Montgomery County, and if you think I was being too angry, find a better way to say so.

But the problem still stands: this moratorium will do nothing for affordable housing, for traffic, for any part of our normal lives in Montgomery County. It's a feel-good measure that dicks around with the economy in the process.

Call me when Leggett and Praisner stop listening to the civic associations; in the meantime, write your own material.

12/09/2006 05:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric-They don't need to say it. Their actions here speak louder than words. Secondly, Elrich campaigned on stopping growth. Their agenda is bad for the County.

12/09/2006 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger Eric Luedtke said...

Politicalhack - We'll just have to agree to have a friendly disagreement. I don't think Elrich campaigned on stopping growth - he campaigned on slowing it and tying it to the presence of road and school infrastructure. And anyway, no one in their right mind thinks Montgomery County will just stop growing. It's a matter of supply and demand, and the invisible hand can easily beat out local government.

12/10/2006 08:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Politcal Hack,

I am late to this conversation but I never heard Elrich or Praisner advocate stopping growth while on the campaign trail and I was out there in the Eastern and Mid County for them.

Tell me what is wrong with taking a pause?

You are correct that actions speak louder than words. Four years ago the first thing the "End Gridlock" slate did was redefine the Master Plan so no road would be considered "overcrowded" so mutliple developments could forward -- read Strathmore and the Conference Center -- on the Pike. They also redefined what constituted an "overcrowded school" so in-filling could take place anywhere -- the result the greatest use of trailers for learning in the history of MoCo. Why did "end gridlock" do this? They took over $1 million in developer money.

Now that we have the facts straight please tell me what is wrong with taking a pause?

What makes this policy "wrong" (your words, clearly not mine) for this county?

Call Me A Civic Minded Friend

12/15/2006 01:20:00 AM  

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