Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I am intrigued by the campaign being run by the Kent County Democrats this year. They united in press conference to declare a united front. They have seized upon a very real concern over our ability to handle the growth of our county. I am glad someone is actually talking about something that matters. It seems like every week there is a new subdivision and every month a new shopping center or store being built. Smyrna has doubled over the last 5 years and the Magnolia/ Camden growth zone is headed that way. Many people our concerned that the pressures will damage our way of life and outstrip our infrastructure. These people are members of both major parties and independents and third parties as well. This concern crosses party lines.

The problem is that these good people seem to have no new plans, and the ones they have are bad ones. One candidate, Brad Eaby, was reduced to talking about belly fat when trying to explain his position. All the rest ignore the fact that most of their proposals would actually accelerate growth in the growth zones.

Let me illustrate this by quickly outlining a back ground of what has already been done. The fact is that the county is growing at an increased clip of 2% a year. That is not going to create any crisis in our lifestyle or infrastructure. 2% growth means that the county will double in 36 years. The reason it looks faster is because the county has locked out most new building east of route one for environmental and other reasons. Farmland preservation has kept other land out of circulation. Most of the growth has been focused into a couple of areas. This has caused a disproportionate impact in the growth zone.

Kent County has been declared by the state planning office and other experts as a leader in preplanning for growth. It was the first county with a certified comprehensive plan. The plan was developed with months of public input and updated the same way. The water and sewer is here and developers are required to pay for expansion. The county has heeded state requests for developing a coastal zone and worked with the state planning office. It was declared a model for livable Delaware under the two Democrat governors Mr. Carper and Mrs. Minner.

Now this inconvenient fact has left them with basically proposing what already exists. They seem to be hoping you don’t follow the issues closely enough to notice. This is what I mean by no new plans. Everything is already in place or proposed.

What I mean by bad plans is the fact that the ones not implemented would do more harm than good. A moratorium would only delay life for a few months and hurt the working people who make their living in construction and related fields. The adequate facilities ordinances are poorly crafted and could end up in courts. They do have the potential to either shutdown growth or create a New Castle county style slight of hand and corruption of special interest lobbyist. I will analyze these proposals in a separate piece. The main problems with half of them is that will add uncertainty by introducing factors the county does not control and they are open to interpretation which means deal making and favoritism. In this state, the state government controls the schools construction and roads. The state government is confused by the language of these proposals and has requested the county hold back on passing them. It is not just builders and real estate people unhappy. The passage of these plans could hurt property values of those without political connections and cause more confusion between state and county officials.

So what has been their response to the joining of the debate?-- coordinated personal attacks. A phony law suit against Nancy Wagner, vague allegations in the papers against Ron Smith and a disinformation campaign against Don Blakey have all surfaced. 33rd district Republican U. S. Grant, won his primary based upon some smart new approaches to growth on a state level, he takes no money from legitimate sources which he thinks could give an appearance of compromise and yet they act as if even he is part of “the conspiracy” to turn our county over to developers. What could have been an interesting debate about property rights, growth, jobs, and vision for the future has been turned by them into an emotional political football.

I hope you see through these tactics. We need the people who really try to do something not those who just complain.

David Anderson

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