Thursday, March 23, 2006

He spoke for the trees

I popped in at the City Council’s zoning meeting last Monday night. When you do that, you almost always stumble over some great tidbit.

Monday’s came during a public hearing on a request to rezone about 5 acres off Tuckaseegee Road for an office and a self-storage facility. The planning staff was recommending against the rezoning, because it doesn’t match the plan for the area. One area of contention was that the planners want the developers to save 17 percent of the trees on the site. The developers say that isn’t feasible.

At that point council member Michael “The Lorax” Barnes spoke for the trees. He said he found it unacceptable to disregard the city’s tree-save requirements and suggested the developer consider options for mitigating the damage, such as planting trees elsewhere. It’s a novel idea – who knows if it’s workable? – and I loved hearing a politician offer such a thought.

Then the developers’ lobbyist, Bob Young, spoke up: “I like trees,” he avowed. “We all like trees.”

Well, yes.

It reminded me of when the city, in 1998, was proposing requiring developers to build sidewalks on both sides of subdivision streets, a proposal that drew sharp opposition from the Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition. They just loved sidewalks, of course. But at one council meeting, after pleas for good sidewalks on behalf of children, the elderly and people in wheelchairs, REBIC executive Mark Cramer warned council: “You can have too much of a good thing.”

Like trees, I suppose.


Anonymous said...

Once again, Newsom is a walking talking, contradiction.

Newsom supports every last concrete structure being built in uptown, but development in any other area is, of course, evil and needs to be stopped.

I work uptown. Where are all the trees?

Are the NASCAR hall of fame, new arts museums, Bobcats arena, Discovery Place, and new highrises required to maintain trees and greenspace? NOPE.

Not a whole lotta trees around Bobcats Arena. Didn't hear a peep about that.

No trees virtually from Morehead to 9th street. Newsom does not seem to have mind.

Cut down a half-dead Leyland Cypress in the 'burbs and SCREEECCCHHH!


Anonymous said...

Suburban sidewalks equal impervious surface. Impervious surface equals storm water. Storm water is an issue raised for almost every rezoning or subdivision approval. Perhaps Cramer and REBIC had studied the issue. Too much side walk equals too much storm water.

Please note a 5' wide sidewalk for one mile (5,280') is equal to 26,400 sq ft when divided by 43,560 sq ft in an acre there is just over .6 of an acre of concrete pavment.

And before my words are twisted this is not about side walks as part of a true transportation system or urban side walks. This is about the requirement for side walks on both sides of the street, not road, deep within suburban subdivisions.

Anonymous said...

To sidewalk or not to sidewalk should be up to homeownes associations and not the city.

To make a blanket statement like 'all neighborhoods need sidewalks' is silly. Are you going to walk from Raintree to Uptown???

Our neighborhood HAS sidewalks, but that is because out neighborhood assn. dictates.

The city should not try to micro manage neighborhoods and leave those decision up to them.

UPtown is one, big impervious surface. Lets put a stop to that!

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Councilmember Barnes and other members of City Council for speaking up about the quality of development, not just the quantity. These elected officials should be commended for recognizing that Charlotte's quality of life rests with their decisions and the regulations that they put in place. Charlotte is finally putting itself in a position to improve its development standards, street standards, tree standards and water quality standards to ensure that Charlotte's quality of life is protected for existing and future generations. Kudos to our City Council for doing the right thing instead of wavering in the face of the typical "doom" scenarios of the development community. Now that is what I call leadership!

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