Sunday, May 22, 2011


Time was when I used to love to drive over to Charlotte for shopping and events. This was 20 years ago when it was still easy to navigate the roads and streets, before congestion, when parking was easy and the commerce I sought was readily accessible. It was an enjoyable day or evening trip for the most part. Occasionally I would go to Spirit Square for an event or go to the first Friday art crawl with friends when Jonathan's restaurant was still there. I would run over to Providence Rd. for shopping and dining. I would go to the ASID Designer house event which raised money for the symphony. I would go to a favorite Dr. on East Blvd. upon the need. Gradually that all changed. Now I cringe when even thinking of going to Charlotte. What used to be a fun trip to the city is now a nightmare with odd traffic patterns, fighting traffic congestion, less available parking, and mob scenes in shopping malls. Everything is more difficult to access.

What changed?
Smart Growth is what happened. Growth is one thing. Smart Growth is quite another thing. Smart Growth is planned high density and traffic design. The same Smart Growth disease that occurred in Charlotte has come to Gastonia and, sadly, most cities in America.

The Charlotte Vision Plan 2010 is nearly a carbon copy of the Gastonia Vision Plan and of every other plan in the country. Isn't that strange? How could individual cities and individual city councils and mayors in individual topographical locations somehow come up with the same template for their formerly unique cities???

Take a look at the "Overview" of the Charlotte Vision Plan:

To create a memorable Center City Charlotte, future development as well as funding initiatives and improvements will be guided by these principles:

Pedestrian: A Walkable City. Create comfortable and interesting neighborhoods at a human scale.

Mixed: Encourage growth that supports a mix of housing, retail, office and civic spaces, throughout neighborhoods, blocks, and even buildings.

Balanced: Each new initiative for Center City should be considered according to its impact on the larger picture. Memorable cities grow comprehensively.

Leveraged: Optimize each private and public investment through coordination and partnerships between government, neighborhoods, developers and businesses.

Varied: Offer a range of experiences to the community, including urban alternatives such as multi-family housing, mass transit, active parks and vehicle free living.

Designed: Discover the "architecture of Charlotte" that is unique and of the highest standard.

Now take a look at the Gastonia Vision Plan:

1. Make improvements to pedestrian paths and create safe,
walkable, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.
2. Support the revitalization of declining neighborhoods.
3. Increased opportunities for homeownership for various housing
4. Vibrant recreational centers, including walking trails, and
connections to area greenways.
5. Mixed-use transit oriented development centers combine retail,
services, and offices with medium-scale residences to fill the
transition from commercial uses to surrounding neighborhoods.
6. Promote regional cooperation to ensure development outside the
City’s municipal boundary is complementary.
7. Increased opportunities for mixed used high density residential
development with commercial business and health service centers.
8. Redevelopment of abandoned commercial and industrial sites.

Problems cited are:
1. Large lots and low density discourages walking and
2.Street networks tend to consist of two-lane roads
handling far more vehicles than they were designed
for funneling traffic onto major arterials, causing and
congestion on major streets.
3. Roads are designed for mobility of cars as opposed to
accessibility for all modes of transportation.
4. Streets with multiple lanes of traffic; often lack sidewalks.

It goes on to say:
"Therefore, it is essential that the City encourage smart growth and sustainable development principles, which will build from the City’s source of strength–structured around a historic and vibrant downtown, diverse residential neighborhoods, infill development within the Center City, and nodal development along the commercial and institutional spines of the City’s major corridors like Franklin Boulevard and US 321."

If you haven't been here lately, you should see the traffic congestion along Franklin Blvd. created by Smart Growth principles. Evidently there is no other plan but "Smart Growth." There is no development, but "Sustainable Development." The entire country has become a cookie cutter pattern designed by environmentalists who believe space belongs to wildlife and not to people. And there lies the rub. The planning is not for people. In fact it is anti-people planning. In fact, the planning is un-American. The planning has been forced on the U.S. through the U.N., through corrupt American politicians and a corrupt process called "regional governments" who are unelected bureaucrats demanding Smart Growth for bribes....oops, I mean government grants.

It doesn't have to be this way. Believe me. I have one little acre of property. There is wildlife all over my property. I have frogs, birds, bugs, trees, bushes, weeds and wildflowers. I have chipmunks and way too many squirrels. I have hickory nuts and acorns. We have lots of permeable land. I've grown cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots. We have butterflies and dragonflies. We have occasional owls and hawks and bats. We have an occasional raccoon and rabbits and box turtles. We have occasional black snakes and, once in a while, a very unwelcome copperhead. I even have a walking trail all around the wooded backyard. My one acre lot is supporting a lot more wildlife than if you crammed a high rise apartment building on this one acre. There isn't anything going on here that thwarts wildlife. Maybe I should apply for a government grant for all the wildlife I support with my one little acre. What do you think??

I tell you all of that because neighborhoods with larger lots support more clean air, better water distribution, and "livability" that condensed, high density, congested, "Smart Growth" planned areas ruin. My quality of life on this one acre is environmentally sound for both my family and wildlife!

Smart Growth is just plain dumb. But worse than that, Smart Growth is corrupt politics. And sadly, it is now pervasive in our country in the way that the Asian Carp and Kudzu are pervasive. It is a pandemic of stupidity and political tyranny.

Cramming people into smaller and smaller areas is not good for the quality of life we all seek, that is assuming you actually want good quality of life for people and the surrounding wildlife. If you only care about a wild planet without people, then that's another thing. Maybe you should move to Mars.

Study Smart Growth and STOP IT NOW!

So here's another one from the little town of Davidson, NC

Davidson preserves its small town character and community assets in the face of explosive development pressure from nearby Charlotte. Adherence to smart growth principles and regional collaboration on industrial development projects are Davidson’s strategies for upholding its community’s high standards.

Read below, just so you know:
Cities Across the Country Under Smart Growth
Smart Growth Principles

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