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|Top 10 Reasons LandChoices is needed
1. More than two million acres a year are lost to development
More than 5,000 acres - think 5,000 football field sized natural areas, 200+ acres per hour, more than 3 acres per minute, are needlessly lost to development every day in America. LandChoices is the first and only group working to change outdated ordinances to take conservation subdivisions nationwide to protect every beautiful place in America slated for development.
Think everyone will move back to the cities? Think again!
"At least 40 million people in the US by 2025 will require housing on your local natural areas. Between 2003 and 2025, the United States is expected to grow by almost 58 million people-a Census Bureau forecast that roughly continues the average 2.75 million to 3 million-plus a year increase since 1980.
Even the most optimistic assumptions foresee accommodating at most 18 million or so of these new people through infill. That leaves at least 40 million to still be accommodated in some sort of new greenfield community."
From "Greenfield Development Without Sprawl: The Role of Planned Communities", by Ed McMahon, a Fellow at the Urban Land Institute and one of our nation's top experts on land use,
Subdivisions in the countryside are not going away
Despite attempts to guide home buyers back to the city, experts state that most of the subdivision development in the foreseeable future will happen in the countryside, destroying clean water, natural areas, working family farms, and wildlife. Money Magazine's article "Where We'll Live Tomorrow" (PDF) states "Sure, big cities have their charms, but for families the suburbs are here to stay".
Read Good Intentions Pave Road To Zoning Hell (PDF) by LandChoices' advisory group member Larry Collins.
2. Lakes, rivers and streams are polluted
Conventional subdivision developments create impervious surfaces - fertilized lawns, rooftops, streets and driveways - carrying pollutants and heated storm water into area lakes rivers and streams and depleting groundwater. LandChoices is working to take conservation subdivisions, that eliminate or reduce stormwater run off and preserve groundwater and clean drinking water, nationwide.
3. Fragmented wildlife habitat
Conventional subdivision development destroys wildlife and fragments habitat.
Conventional development has destroyed and fragmented wildlife and shrunken available habitat, which affects current populations, limits their ability to repopulate areas, and increases the number of predators. LandChoices is working to take conservation subdivisions, that preserve a majority of the natural areas for wildlife and link contiguous areas together, nationwide.
4. Working family farms are disappearing
Conventional subdivisions needlessly wipe out working farmland. LandChoices is the first and only group working to change outdate ordinances in America to take conservation subdivisions, that help preserve working farmland, nationwide.
5. Landowners need information
Up to 90% of landowners are not aware of any other options besides selling their land for conventional "cookie cutter" subdivision development! LandChoices is getting the word out to landowners and providing them with actionable information.
"The biggest problem land conservation faces in this country is that private landowners are not getting enough information. Over the next fifteen to twenty years, millions and millions of acres of land will change hands, and potentially change use, as these older landowners plan for, or don't plan for, what's going to happen to their land."
Boston tax attorney Stephen Small, the nation's leading authority on private land protection options
"85% of the landowners in our country are seeking full equity out of their land and NEED to know about conservation subdivision design as an option, otherwise their land will destroyed by conventional subdivision development."
LandChoices' member Edward McMahon, former vice president and director of land use planning at The Conservation Fund, and a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute
6. Growing population
Between 2003 and 2025, the United States is expected to grow by almost 58 million people. 40 million people will require housing on natural areas.
LandChoices is the first and only group working to change outdate ordinances in America to take conservation subdivisions, that preserve on average 62% of the land, nationwide. to accomodate a growing population without destroying the rural America countryside.
7. Children are disconnected with nature and the obesity problem is growing
Conventional subdivisions destroy forests, fields, rivers, streams and lakes. Children are growing up surrounded by concrete and computers, adding to the childhood obesity problem.
LandChoices is the first and only group working to change outdate ordinances in America to take conservation subdivisions, that preserve on average 62% of the land, nationwide to reconnect children with nature.
Studies in the book "Last Child in the Woods" state that children connected to nature have lower rates of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ) and depression. They are more apt to take match and science classes and grow up to be more successful adults.
Childhood obesity starts kids on the path to health problems that were once confined to adults, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In addition, an estimated two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese.
8. Climate change and clean air
Conventional subdivisions destroy natural areas that are needed to combat global warming and provide clean air.
"Through the use of cluster subdivision requirements and conservation subdivision standards, small landscape gains on individual development projects can add up to significant CO2 sequestration benefits while promoting the more localized gains of cooling the urban environment, reducing the heat island effect of densely developed neighborhoods, and securing public health benefits for the urban population.
Clustering requires developers to preserve a percentage of the development parcel for open space and requires that it be left in its natural condition and be carefully managed to preserve community benefits of open land. Conservation subdivisions go further and require more aggressive conservation practices throughout the development."
From Climate Change and Sustainable Development: The Quest for Green Communities-Part II, by John R. Nolon. Copyright American Planning Association Nov 2009 Planning & Environmental Law.
9. Outdated ordinances destroy rural lands and small town charm
Subdivision ordinances in most communities nationwide are outdated, requiring "cookie-cutter" subdivisions that pollute water, destroy wildlife, working farms and natural areas.
LandChoices is the only group educating people nationwide about conservation subdivisions. Our Supersize My BackyardTM campaign and new website for planners, DownloadTheOrdinance.org, is helping preserve America's rural lands.
10. Boy Scout, Girl Scout Camps and other camps are being sold
The camps that are so important for children are being sold for development. LandChoices is one of the first and only groups working to save the Boy Scout, Girl Scout and outdoor camps you cherish nationwide. Visit our blog SaveCamps.org to join the conversation and learn how to preserve nature for kids.
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