Monday, June 8, 2009

Henrico Comp Plan coverage- Turn on WWBT12 News at 6 Tonight- Last Public Hearing on the 2026 Plan tomorrow at 7pm

Finally, the LAST "Public Hearing" on Henrico's 2026 Comprehensive Plan will be held tomorrow night at 7pm at the Western Henrico Government Complex Board Room. If you care about Henrico's future, pollution, the watershed, or local green-space, you should attend.

The only time your voice doesn't count is when you don't use it.

In a brief teaser for their related story on tonight's news at 6pm, local television Channel 12 called the Comp Plan a "work in progress". So that means there's still room for change, right?

12 also let slip that Henrico County Planning Department Director Ralph Emerson "doesn't own a crystal ball- or his job would be a lot easier." Instead of this, the news is Emerson and his department use "current densities", "land use patterns" and "look at infrastructure." These factors show planners that "more people in one area" will drive the need for retail and service support there. If H.C. Planning also included Henrico residents suggestions they wouldn't need a gypsy fortune-teller. Try taking the public temperature- or listening to the taxpayers you represent- anyone? Hello?

We see where "more people" live and say: concentrate the building there, please. Some building will occur county-wide, but it's been noted that there are enough projects on the books now to more than accommodate any projected residential growth in Henrico until 2026.

Want to learn more about what hangs in the balance if you don't get involved? The Virginia Conservation Network has provided a neat bulleted list to get you up to speed.

Channel 12's story at 6pm tonight is said to include coverage of both sides of the story. And why would there be more than one side? Because developers and those who support that industry remaining unchecked like to portray anyone concerned about Henrico's environmental future as "Anti-Development". It just aint so. None of us at HV have ever heard anyone in any of the county meetings we've attended say "all development must stop", only that it needs to be done with a sensitive vision for the sake our future.

Coincidentally, the current Comprehensive Plan in Henrico has been titled "Vision 2026". We're still asking readers to encourage our elected leaders to open their eyes and include the vision of the people who live here.

H.C. Planning may not have a crystal ball, but it shouldn't take hearing aids to include the the repeated requests of residents who have worked hard during the entire Comprehensive Planning process in their attempts to educate county planners and leaders about the need for green planning- still conspicuously lacking in the plan as it now stands. Discounted as ignorant farmers or crazy tree huggers, those who share our green vision for Henrico couldn't be further just that. e're just a bunch of tax-payers who care about nature, and want to be ensured it'll last a lot longer than the next latte in a styrofoam cup.

Reader responses to pro-green journalism and editorial coverage of the 20206 Vision has continued to become more rabid of late. Snarling readers have attacked the last couple of environmentally concerned media bits, calling Envision Henrico members and others concerned about the future of Henrico's last remaining green-spaces and watersheds a handful of pretty creative names.

Angered tree-haters providing write-in commentary have called locals concerned about Henrico's environmental future "idiot", "anti-growth crazies", "living-in-the-19th-Century cronies", "anti-growth-zealots", "hicks" and "eco-nit-wits" among other hilarious names.

Similarly extreme comments that make poor rebuttals have also been posted locally, like: "Henrico officials realize that progress has to happen or the county will die." Die? My my... are we in that much trouble? Funny- we keep reading about Henrico's AAA Fitch ratings. So we have to sell out our remaining green-space to bail the county out of the hole? News to us.

As for the name calling, when the residents who show up at meetings on the Comp Plan include concerned and educated professionals in the fields of forestry, conservation, education, and the like, it becomes apparent that anyone responding so negatively in the local media is either a developer or has invested in the plan to tarmac the remainder of the county.

So how come no-one who hates the environment or local history ever shows up in person to holler this stuff at any of the public meetings provided for this purpose? Maybe it's the same reason that the yellow game piece is usually the last color to be chosen.

Now watch the news at 6 tonight on Channel 12.. and think about what which green matters to you in Henrico- it is the green that lines the pockets of developmental concerns, or the green that will provide clean air and water for future generations?

Encourage your friends and neighbors to attend this one last meeting tomorrow, Tuesday June 9th at 7pm at the Western Government Center Board Room on Parham Road, and make your voice count.

Get involved and read more here:

Richmond Times Dispatch: LAND USE: To Pave or Save Henrico’s Farmland?
by Nicole Anderson-Ellis

Bacon's Rebellion: Land Use Planning from the Bottom Up
by Charley Finley

and the latest effort of a locally based Green-Building professional we can all get behind

Green Modern Kits : Why We Not Only Need To Have Prime Agricultural Zoning,
But Need To Viligantly Protect It

by Copeland Casati

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