Monday, May 17, 2004


PD praises growth-reducing land-use policies--World to end soon?

A Press Democrat editorial Sunday (5/16/04) said,

"for cities and counties, coming to a stop after periods of rapid growth can take years. This is what has happened in Sonoma County which, new figures show, grew by a meager 0.7 percent last year, making the county the 15th slowest-growing in California."

The Editor didn't say what period of rapid growth he was talking about, or how many years ago it happened. And in fact, there were major residential growth booms here--especially in Santa Rosa--at the end of both the '80s and '90s.

The Editor explained,

"The primary reason for the slowdown in Sonoma County is the sluggish economy and job losses which, unfortunately, have forced some residents to move away and made it difficult for others to move here. But it's also the result of wise land-use policies which, over time, have managed to put the brakes to growth levels which at one point were unsustainable."

The PD's admission that growth levels were unsustainable, at least at one indefinite point, and praise for wise policies that have reduced those levels, qualify as Omens & Portents That May Well Herald the Impending End of the World As We Have Known It. However, the Editor also said growth was inevitable, and called for reexamination of those wise policies:

"Populations numbers will always rise and fall with each economic shift. But what's also certain is that, during times such as these, communities need to re-examine land-use policies to be sure that when growth inevitably picks up again, they will experience the kind of new development that they want and need most."
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