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Keep Cutten Rural

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Editor:

The mission of the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights is to preserve the Humboldt County rural lifestyle. As such, we have grave concerns regarding the present form of the Forster-Gill development project ("Mega-Village," Aug. 5).

The Ridgewood Village plan is a hastily promoted project that is deficient of adequate citizen input. It is the largest proposed subdivision in Humboldt County since the ill-designed Shelter Cove subdivision, and as such does not need to be on the fast track to approval. It is time to slow down and listen to the public.

This development is being portrayed as fitting the requirements of urban infill, a component of so-called "smart growth." In our estimation, this is urban sprawl on steroids.

It is astounding to witness such a wholesale buy-in by some self-described environmentalists, certain supervisors and county planners to a scheme that will forever change the very fabric of the rural Cutten area. The EIR states, in part, "Cumulative development would eventually convert the Ridgewood Heights area from a primarily rural area dominated by undeveloped forest ridges and hillsides to a primarily suburban area with a scattering of GO [open space]." All in the name of "smart growth."

This plan is just not ready for prime time. It is fraught with problems too serious to ignore. The EIR is insufficient and lacking in peer review. The sewage system is inadequate to the task. And the increase in traffic in the development phase alone will almost certainly be a danger to school children and others.

The plan claims to address our need for affordable housing while being inconsistent with the Housing Element requirement for "affordable housing that integrates well with the community," which this most certainly will not. It will, instead, destroy the existing community in order to develop a cookie-cutter variety of housing better suited to large urban areas.

Estelle Fennell, Executive Director, Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights

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