If I wanted to buy or sell a house, I’d probably contact someone like Mr. Goedker or another qualified representative of the Greater Lakes Association of Realtors (GLAR). They know how to move real estate. That’s their business and they do it well. If I wanted to better protect our public waters and property values for the long-term, I don’t think Mr. Goedker and GLAR would be my first choices to call. In fact, after reading their misinformed opinions in the Dispatch, they wouldn’t even make my top 100. My reasoning is simple: first, they aren’t experts in land-use and water sustainability. Second, their opinions — and that’s exactly what they are — are short-sighted, outdated, and are influenced by how they perceive what the proposed zoning changes will do to their commissions every time they help a client purchase or sell a piece of property.
Each year, more of our lakes and rivers are classified as impaired water bodies, and most land-use and water experts agree that it’s a direct result of the unsustainable way we have been developing our shorelands. The old rules obviously don’t work. Mr. Goedker was quoted in the paper as saying that efforts to streamline wordy ordinances and make them more clear are welcome changes. Unfortunately, editing will do nothing to clean up our public waters, or improve our long-term property values. We need to change how we develop and the recommendations proposed by the county are a good start. They are not “overreaching.” They are overdue.