I keep wondering about growth. Growth is changing the community. Can we ever keep people from visiting here or moving here? What is special about this place that we seem to be losing? Our wildlife? How do we protect that? Our people? How do we preserve the hard-working and diverse population that made the community what it is? How do we ensure there are people here that really care, people to provide health care, education, public safety and volunteer services? Some of these folks are moving away… I don’t know how to think about it… Have we reached a point of no return?
I’m concerned about growth. Are you?
Let’s face it, property is worth the most in dollar terms without space for wildlife, without workforce housing, with a minimum of open space, with no obligation to address traffic impacts, and free of any encumbrance to protect historic character. But if dollar value is the only thing it’s about, then where are we headed as a community?
Unfettered growth won’t preserve essential wildlife habitat. Unfettered growth won’t solve workforce housing challenges. We can’t stop growth—there are plenty of empty lots waiting for a house, and there is plenty of commercial space waiting for a developer. We can zone to place a rough cap on overall development. And we have. Is that enough? What else can we do?
Guiding growth to address its impacts on our community needs thoughtful and experienced leadership. We need leadership that will craft policies that preserve community values. We need leadership to support public-private partnerships that catalyze the passion and talent of the private sector to protect those aspects of our community we hold most dear.
We need vision and leadership to understand that the community simply can’t grow and keep growing. Equally, we need vision and leadership to understand that protecting community character in the face of growth is no small challenge.
The magnitude of the challenge is beyond any one person’s ability to tackle. So most of all, we need leadership and vision that recognizes and celebrates your pride, passion and compassion and that welcomes your voice at the table. Please support my vision of a community that thoughtfully confronts growth and issues around growth, that recognizes the profound forces shaping our community and that, most importantly, keeps your voice at the table.