Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Soap Box

Blogger hates me lately, so if this post looks like a two-year-old formatted it, my apologies!!

I'm going to take a break from "The Keyboard" today to jump aboard my soap box. There's an issue brewing too close to home for me right now and it's sapping most of my creative energy.

Where to begin....

I live in a VERY rural area. In fact, the picture in this blog is the view from my front patio. I have great respect, reverence and love for the open fields and quiet setting that is being threatened by a developer who is proposing a PRIVATE AIRPORT and exclusive fly-in community ONE MILE from my home!

I've been to two Planning and Zoning meetings, with another coming up in a couple of weeks. I've heard the developer's attorney talk in so many circles that I'm dizzy. I've heard the property owner (a VERY old and VERY rich rancher) yell and scream at the top of his lungs that if we (his neighbors) stand in the way of this development that he'll sue us all, and I've heard the speeches of teary-eyed residents just like me, begging the Planning and Zoning Commission to re-think this project.

As I drive past the wet-lands that serve as a home to Sandhill Cranes, Blue Herons and Curlews, I wonder--will they come back once ground is broken? As I watch the herd of elk that have crossed this property for years meander through the grass, I wonder--where will they graze after the backhoes and dumptrucks come? As I sit outside and listen to the sounds of nature, I wonder--how much longer do I have before those sounds are drown out by the whoosing engines of a corporate jet? It makes me sick.

A noise expert spoke on behalf of the developer last night and assured the P&Z Commission that most of the noise from the airport would occur at 65 decibles near my home (which according to his chart is pretty damn loud). He told my daughter that the current decible rating for our area is at about 40. He also assured the commission that those occurences are classified by the FAA as "single occurences and not a continuous assualt" and then in the same breath proclaimed that these "single occurences" will OCCUR approximately 50 times during the 15 hours of daily operation. If I'm doing my math correctly, that figures out to about 3.5 OCCURENCES per hour. I don't know about you, but that sounds pretty constant to me.

I feel so helpless against the "Big Money" that I'm up against. The David and Goliath implications of this fight are exhausting and emotionally draining. My neighbors (some 300 rural community members will be directly affected) are all trying their hardest to fight the good fight. Lawyers have been commissioned, consultants have been hired, and bulk mailings are going out at personal expense. I'm proud to belong to a group of people that are so dedicated to coming together to fight against something so large and oppressive in comparison to our little group. I'm glad that people are still willing to stand up against greed and big money.

I'm going to have the opportunity to make a presentation at our next planning and zoning meeting. I'm speaking on behalf of my family's land trust and therefore I'm allowed more time to speak than a single home-owner. I've got A LOT of research to do and a killer speech to write. I want my five minutes to make a sixty minute impact. I'm so nervous--I hate speaking in public. But I've got to do what I can and not lay down and allow my way of life to be steam-rolled by an elitist development. I'm particularly interested in population numbers for Sandhill Cranes, Curlews (which I believe were on the threatened list a while back) and Herons for the Valley County, Idaho area. I'll be hitting the books hard, so to speak, and if anyone out there in the blogging community has any information that might help, I'd be eternally grateful.

Like I said, if I don't at least try to do something, that lovely picture at the top left corner will have a sleek corporate jet in it next year.


Suzanne said...

ACK! How devistating! Good for you girl! And you think you are sometimes a doormat? Methinks not!

WindyA said...

OMGosh! That sounds horrible! You live in such a beautiful area, I guess I can understand the marketability for a developer, but at the same time, isn't the world trying to go a bit more GREEN? I don't think the pollution caused by the 3.5 times per hour the planes coming into the area are going to be very GREEN to the community as a whole. And isn't what they are trying to sell exactly what we're looking at from your front porch? So how are they going to be able to market it once they bulldoze?

Sorry, as you can see, I've got some strong feelings on these types of issues too. It isn't always about the money and people just don't get that.

Good luck in your research and in your speech/presentation. I am completely behind you in your efforts.

B.J. Anderson said...

Holy cow! Hang in there and give em' hell! Good luck with it, and I'm sure you'll have a wonderful speech. Let us know how it turns out.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Oh no - that is terrible! Good luck with your speech and I would really hit the environmental/conservationist angle hard - it seems like that might be your best bet!

Lazy Writer said...

It's the worst thing that could ever happen. We sat for eleven years and watched things build up around our quiet 10 acres. We finally gave up fighting the "Big Money" and moved further out of town. Good luck to you. I hope it all works out!

Danni said...

OMG! I can't believe how selfish people can be, they think because the have the money they can do what ever they want. Good luck! I hope it all works out in your favor.