The October Save the Pine Bush veggie/vegan lasagna dinner was
the location of the presentation Mary Ann Johnson of Scenic Hudson
made about sprawl. She began by describing how Scenic Hudson
formed by citizens who opposed the destruction of Storm King
Mountain (along the Hudson River) for an electric plant. It took
17 years, and a trip to the Supreme Court, but the citizens won.
Storm King Mountain is now protected.
Scenic Hudson has expanded its interest to all
of the Hudson River, from Lake Tear of the Clouds to New York
Hudson works with elected officials and local citizens on projects
that affect the Hudson, including working with river front communities
to fight sprawl, the fight to remove PCBs from the Hudson, to
What is sprawl? Sprawl is auto-dependent development,
fragmented open spaces, highway commercial strips, low-density
uses and separation of land uses.
The federal promotes sprawl by its mortgage
interest deduction, highway subsidies, gasoline subsidies and
failure to invest in
State policies promote sprawl through tax incentives
to locate developments on rural lands on the fringe of developed
Local polices promote sprawl by promoting large
lot residential zoning, inadequate design standards, weak agricultural
and zoning that segregates uses.
Consumers promote sprawl by preferring single-family
detached housing on large lots in residential communities. “Zoning
is the law of unintended consequences.”
Economic policies promote sprawl by commercial
lending practices that favor suburban development, rising urban
costs and competition
for tax base.
The consequences of sprawl include social fragmentation
by race and income, fragmented open space, loss of habitat,
loss of sense
of place and of community, decline in water quality, urban disinvestment,
increased fuel consumption, increase in health problems including
obesity and diabetes.
Where do people vacation? Not in sprawl. They
visit terrific historic places with town centers.
Scenic Hudson works with the Hudson Valley Smart
Growth Alliance. What is smart growth? Smart growth is about
adding not subtracting
to the community and to create compact and connected communities. “Think
Regionally, Act Locally”. The Hudson Valley Greenway encourage
smart growth. Smart growth is building close-knit, interconnected
communities. Its about respecting the past, building for the
future and creating enduring value through enduring design. Smart
growth is giving growth back its good name.