Editorial/Op

Houses Everywhere!

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CENTRAL FIRST BLUE b    Mia and I had the good fortune to take a trip out west to sightsee and hike last week.  We saw Death Valley, CA in rare full wildflower bloom, visited Mount Charleston, and hiked around in Red Rocks and the Valley of Fire.  I have not seen so much wide open space in years, but on the flight out there I saw more rooftops than I could count.
    As we flew over Houston, (Did you know that there are more people in the Houston metro area than there are in ALL of Louisiana?), Dallas, and Las Vegas I was amazed at how many houses have been built, jammed one up against another, on tiny little lots in these huge cities.
    As I look back at the pictures now, I realize that most of these massive subdivisions are closer to the center of these big cities than Central is from downtown Baton Rouge.  Then I consider that the city Mia grew up in, the quiet suburb of Springfield, Virginia outside of Washington DC, once had farm land, and now is a part of one continuous slab of concrete that stretches all the way to the White House.
    Friends, I’m not anti-growth, and I do want a few more selected businesses in Central.  However, seeing the massive suburban sprawl of big cities from 20,000 feet in the air really has me thinking about where Central might be in 30 years.
    Central has a very good Master Plan that should temper growth and allow us to keep up with the building of roads and schools, but only if we follow the guidance the Master Plan contains.  Look back at the past week and understand that one component of the Master Plan is to ensure that areas are not over-built in a way that adds to flooding because the concrete and rooftops shed the rain as fast as it falls.
    It is only fair to property owners to allow them to develop their property as allowed by our ordinances.  However, every time you see a piece of property being “rezoned,” please look very carefully at whether that new use of the property follows the guidance of our Master Plan and is healthy for the future of our city.
    I know I can never again be ten years old riding my bike down Blackwater Road and not see a car anywhere.  I accept that Sullivan and Wax are to be forever avoided during “rush hour.”  Heck, I can even accept that we HAVE a “rush hour,” but let’s not “rush” too fast to build up Central.  Sticking with the Master Plan would be Good News for a Great City.

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