Thursday, September 20

An open space bond at work

New West has been running a series of stories about how Missoula's open space bond is being used. In the most recent installment:

"It's not just for treasured viewsheds like the hills around Missoula. Traditional agricultural and timber lands -- working lands -- protect Montana's heritage, too."

The story is about the Hayes' family farm, sitting on a location in the Blackfoot valley that may be enticing to developers. Money from the open space bond is being used to purchase the development rights for the farm, ensuring that the property will never be sold and subdivided into separate parcels. It can only reasonably be maintained as a working farm.

This has the feel of a win-win situation. The family gets relief from the constant pressure to give up their legacy of farming, which goes back to 1887, and the wider community benefits from the maintenance of the rural landscape. A true success. The only challenge left to Missoula is to find an affordable place to put those people who would have moved onto the land. Open space and urban density are two sides to the same coin.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

I wish Austin would pass something like Missoula's open space bond. Austin has a number of great parks, like Zilker Park, Deep Eddy, and Ladybird Lake, but there is little attempt to preserve anything in the greater Travis Co. area (in the past 30 years, Austin has formally assimilated essentially all of Travis Co.) from the low density sprawl that you see on the outskirts of every town. Up and down I-35, these shoddily constructed strip-shopping centers (you know, the ones Kunstler calls little 'nowheres') are going up like hotcakes, and none of the developers or city-councilmen are thinking about the long-term consequences of that kind of building. The small town I live in now (Kyle, TX) is nearly 30 miles away from downtown Austin, but it's become a suburb of Austin. It's fundamentally lost its small town identity and taken on the commuter-suburban identity. So far this year, over 850 permits for new residential buildings have been issued, most of them in developments like this or this. It makes me ill.

No one has a sense of place anymore.