I just finished writing about a proposed 220-acre devlopment in the Lodi area. It’s open for public comment until July 24, but a meeting is being held Wednesday as an open forum and public hearing on the proposal and the recently released Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

An EIR is required to be completed by any developer and/or city wishing to build on undeveloped land. The 220 acres in this case are primarily agricultural lands and would be tranformed into retail, office and residential spaces. The EIR is some 300 pages in length, with 30 pages alone dedicated to describing the environmental shift that would take place if the development is allowed.

In addition, the group who conducted the research gave three alternatives to the project, with a notation by each environmental impact of which alternative would best prevent the possible pollution. The number one alternative offered for EVERY impact listed? Alternative 1: No project/no development.

But the project will pass. The 220 acres will soon look like Anywhere, USA with it’s Wal-Mart or Target right off the highway, and it’s because everyone wants to complain but nobody has the desire (or more possibly, the time) to read 300 pages of legalese to make a legitimate complaint to the board before they pass the project and the builders move in.

I’m not against all development. I’m just FOR smart development. Why can’t we build up instead of out? A beautiful downtown with chic lofts and restaurants leaves the outlying area available for ag lands and parks, instead of clusters of matching houses. Yes, we can all have our own house on our own piece of land, but how much better is it to have wide, open spaces to visit and revel in their beauty. I’d give up my own backyard to have a huge central park like that of NYC any day.

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