The California lesson
December 25, 2011
I was recently in Dayton, Ohio. I stayed at a friend’s who lives in a multiuse development, akin to the Village at Crystal River (VCR) proposed for Carbondale: attractively built and depressing as hell. I wondered what the rich farmland that had been there looked like. Dayton’s economy is “in crisis.” Malls aren’t their savior.
It got me thinking about Orange County, which reportedly used to have orange groves, as far as the eye could see. Now, it’s malls and multi-use developments, as far as the eye can see. And traffic: farther than the eye can see. Are they saving the economy? Hardly.
The fastest-developed, Las Vegas and much of Florida, also happen to be the most depressed places in the country.
Development for its own sake is disaster. We’ve watched an economy based on empty development escalate to heights never seen, and at the same time we see poverty and environmental degradation at levels never seen, resulting from the “profit over life” model.
We’re in a time that demands that the steps we take be well-thought-out: sustainability – economic, environmental and emotional.
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Carbondale is not Anywhere, USA, with a Sopris view.
The developer is asking us to change into that and pay for the privilege with a PIF “Public” Improvement Fee, a 1 percent tax on every item purchased to pay for construction on Highway 133 for access to the mall), meaning he wants people who are struggling to survive pay for his indulgence every time they buy their necessities.
Check out your bill next time you shop at any of the PIF-laden stores in Glenwood Meadows to see how that increases your spending. Supporters of VCR say it’s the only way. Willits doesn’t have a PIF. If this 24-acre monster gets built, I’ll make the drive and shop there. I don’t give my monetary vote to welfare for wealthy developers.
Yes, we need jobs. Lately, people are discovering the term “manifestor”: someone who is able to manifest things. We’re all manifestors, or else we wouldn’t be living where we are. So, we are able to face the challenges in Carbondale in an inimitably Carbondalien way. We can find solutions to the jobs need, plus ways to put the 60 business spaces for sale or lease in town to use without destroying the character of Carbondale.
Think about California and other places that succumbed to ill-conceived development: so much building, with no thought to the future, the existing beauty of the place, or the actual needs of communities. (We don’t need 164 more housing units. How many for sale signs are in every neighborhood in Carbondale, including RVR? Do you know there will be 700 foreclosures in Garfield County this year?)
Remember the lessons California gave us. Say yes to Carbondale by voting no on VCR. Don’t Californicate Carbondale!