Voting `no’ on Red Feather won’t stop sprawl |

Voting `no’ on Red Feather won’t stop sprawl

Dear Editor,

There may be legitimate and convincing reasons for voting against development on the old Four Mile Ranch, but several asserted by the Red Feather Ridge opponents are not among them.

The first and most visible example is the yard-sign assertion that voting against Red Feather Ridge will “stop urban sprawl.”

It will not.

Nothing short of public purchase of the land in question will now keep it from being developed. Development is going to happen at Red Feather Ridge. Sprawl will occur there. To suggest otherwise is dishonest and misleading.

The only question outstanding is what form that development – that sprawl – will take, specifically, how dense that development will be. For me, the formula is simple.

High density is good; low density is bad.

If the land is to be developed, and lost as natural open space, we should insist on its most complete and efficient use.

Higher-density development will provide more homes for a wider variety of people, attract transit service and recreation facilities useable by more people, improve the cost-effectiveness of utility services, encourage creative individual and common landscaping that keeps the land verdant, and foster a vibrant interactive neighborhood.

Houses scattered on empty lots of two acres or more is a waste of land and a waste of opportunity. Sacrificing those gentle hillsides for a handful of unapproachable expensive homes would be an embarrassing shame.

Land use decisions are complex and difficult, and they don’t fit neatly into terse campaign slogans. Voters should consider the full and forever implications of those decisions before casting their ballots.

Steve Smith


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