The dollar toll and the disruption and devastation that marked this last week will rise even more dramatically if municipalities continue to approve dense development in remote reaches and inaccessible, fire-prone canyons and forests. Therein lies the most conspicuous failure of regional preparedness: the zoning and development decisions that have allowed growth in these areas.
Southern California is stoking a cycle of fire destruction. Cities cheering for new revenue support housing projects on untouched open space without taking into account whether the region has enough water and power for them. The residents of these tracts commute farther, increasing carbon emissions, contributing to global warming and worsening drought.
Zoning changes must reflect present realities and must serve to protect, not exploit. The state cannot sustain new housing projects where there is no additional water, power or fire protection for them. We're already stuck with the many tracts that never should have been built, but it's wrong for taxpayers statewide to shoulder the costs of these mistakes. People who opt for the delights of living on the edge must be required to accept the price. And Southern California cities and counties should move quickly to zone out sprawl.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Tough, but Accurate, Advice...
...from the LA Times: