Poor Planning

By Beacon Staff

Why would our commissioners gut the Flathead County Growth Policy? Must be money rules instead of majority rules because the majority of county residents worked hard to reach the consensus expressed in the 2007 growth policy. Our commissioners have changed all that by removing substantial portions of the document in a less-than transparent way.

They are stuck in an old mindset based on unlimited growth, but the money and energy required for that is rapidly disappearing.

The recession that isn’t going away is a symptom. The economy may improve slightly, but will never be like it was. This planet simply does not have the easy-to-obtain fossil fuel left in the ground to sustain that old paradigm. As Bill McKibben puts it, “We are not living on the same planet we grew up on.”

People are selling big rigs and buying smaller, efficient vehicles; they are locating in town or closer to services and shopping, though buying less.

Folks are making more use of public transportation, carpools and bicycles.

The price of food rises with the price of fuel. Food transported 3,000 miles will no longer be cheap, and will have to be replaced by food grown locally. To complicate matters, our glaciers are disappearing, our wells drying and the weather is more violent and unpredictable.

Why support a disappearing system? Why encourage strip development on every major and secondary road?

How many hundreds of lots are already for sale and not being bought? New development should be restricted to commercial and residential hubs that already exist as suggested in the 2007 policy.

We are going to need that open land to grow food. Let’s not cover it with asphalt and more buildings that end up empty.

Please email the commissioners and remind them of their mission statement: “accountable stewardship of taxpayer resources.” They need to listen to what their constituents want: limited, planned, responsible growth with an eye toward the future, not the past.

Terry Meyers lives in Kalispell

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