General Plan Discussion Is Lost In Extremes

The discussion our community is having about a new General Plan has quickly broken down into a false choice between yimbys and nimbys, pro- and anti-development factions. It’s a perfect example of the excluded middle.

The point of a general plan is that it’s a plan: It anticipates the future, and is supposed to give us a way of preparing for it. Critics of the draft General Plan suggest that the document, as written, expresses great enthusiasm for development, anticipating as much as 670,000 square feet of new commercial space in a 3.4 square-mile city, without planning for the effects of new development.

If the draft General Plan, and the related Downtown Specific Plan, are to be believed, we’re going to add hundreds of new homes to the community, add hundreds of thousands of square feet of commercial space to the community, reduce traffic lanes through the city and maintain our police and fire departments at their current staffing levels. Fair questions follow: Can we grow the population of the city by 20 percent and still maintain a one-engine, one-ambulance fire department? 

It’s unreasonable to attack this open discussion with accusations of nimbyism, and it has become increasingly clear that this accusation is made in bad faith. No one is talking about a zero-growth future. 

Chris Bray, Grace Drive