What is cluster-style housing anyway? Apparently, it depends on who you ask. According to the Crow Wing County Planning Commission, a cluster is a development strategy whereby houses in a development are grouped closer together so that a large percentage (50 percent or more) of the land is preserved as open space. This open space is then permanently protected from further development. But according to ABC Development Corporation (the name has been changed to protect the dumb), a group that is trying to get permission to build a "cluster" development in Crow Wing County, clustering means grouping houses closely together so there is still enough open space to develop more houses sometime in the near future. Open space is only protected until the bulldozers come in to begin Phase II.
When ABC presented their idea of a "cluster" before the Crow Wing County Planning Commission, and heard what Crow Wing County's definition of a cluster was, their response was, "Where's the profit in that?" Actually, there can be plenty of profit in that. And not just for the developer. Cluster communities that protect open space foster an old-fashioned (but never out of date) sense of community among the residents. Open space maintains an atmosphere more rural than suburban, provides common recreational areas, aids in stormwater management, and even increases home values, which means profit for the homeowner. That is why future development in Crow Wing County should be community-driven and not developer-driven. Do you really want your county's future in the hands of Mr. ABC, who's probably trying to figure out how to get teeny tiny bulldozers into that open space between his ears?
Bothered by column
I was very offended after reading the guest column written by Wal-Mart employee, Troy Bock. What most offended me was the comment about superstore opponents motives. I do not have any financial connection to any business that would be hurt by a superstore's predatory economic practices. My motivation comes from a commitment to my community, the environment, and quality of life in the Brainerd lakes area. I simply cannot stand by while people in my community are paid low wages, nor will I stand for a corporation such as Wal-Mart invading our community and creating a downward spiral of negative environmental and economic consequences. If another big box, such as Target were to show interest in building a superstore in this area, I would oppose that as well for very similar reasons.
Another comment that I take issue with is the one alleging that superstore opponents are only concerned with superstores. This statement couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, most of us are concerned with other environmental issues, the superstore issue just happens to be potentially the most harmful development in the lakes area. I can assure you that I, for one, will continue to look at other proposed development which is a detriment to our natural environment and economy.
Mr. Bock, I would hope that in the future before making such assumptions about people you know very little about, you would first talk to us. Then, perhaps you can truly find out why we care so much about this issue. The majority of Coalition members are just average citizens who are deeply committed to our community.
Appalled by decision
I've just read an article concerning the banishment of a peace group from participating in your Fourth of July parade. What nonsense! Anybody heard of the First Amendment? I am simply appalled by this stupid reaction.
May I suggest you look up the word "fascist" in your Webster's. There you will find what is happening to this country under the reign of Mad King George and his fascist courtiers.
A. Leslie Palmer
Mill Valley Calif.
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