So ICLEI was voted out of Roanoke County? The Liberty blogosphere erupted in joy and I shared their excitement. For just a few minutes.
But I realize two things that temper my excitement about this hard fought victory.
This is a victory of persistence; and just the first victory in a long war. We have effectively modeled the tactics of liberals, who tirelessly beat on an issue until they get their way. I am proud of that, and we need to model this behavior more often. But we need to realize the thought process that lead us to an ICLEI membership is now deeply woven into the fabric of critical long term planning documents used by Roanoke County. Educating people on this larger and more critical issue, and convincing Roanoke County to revise the comprehensive plan for Roanoke is the bigger and more important battle.
Widely speaking, most people still don’t understand the critical issues around sustainable development. It isn’t just the U.N connections of ICLEI (these are crystal clear) but the overall goal of sustainable development and its impact on property rights. The more people understand what the overall ICLEI goals are, the more they will be able to see the issues with the Roanoke County Comprehensive Planning Document.
The long term goal of all sustainable development goals is simple and can be easily verified. It is simply to encourage people to live in clustered developments; where services are all located within walking distance. That would keep you from driving so much. And then that would leave more land to preserve.
That would be fine as a personal choice but your county wants to encourage some choices and discourage others. Just pull up the Comprehensive Plan document; hit Ctrl F on your keyboard and search for how many times the Comprehensive Plan uses the words “encourage” and “discourage.” You will be surprised by how “encouraging” or “discouraging” the current plan can be.
For example Chapter 3/Section 7 states that “the growth management goal is clearly intended to DISCOURAGE development in the rural areas of Roanoke County…”
The same section states that the county should ENCOURAGE development in developed areas that already have county services. The plan ENCOURAGES clustered developments. These are high density population areas, with services close by to discourage car usage.
So the key question here is: How will the county encourage and discourage development in each area? Shouldn’t the owners of property in each area ultimately have the say about how their land is used; not the county?
The comprehensive plan is huge; but we will be highlighting the plan over the coming weeks.
So we encourage you to come on a tour of the Comprehensive Plan of Roanoke County. You don’t have to go to the United Nations building to find sustainable development in action. Just go to your county website.