COMMENTARY, MOSTLY ABOUT PFLUGERVILLE
About the January 13, 2009, City Council Meeting, Item 9D
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Suggestions for the January retreat agenda were reviewed in the first regular City Council meeting of 2009. A video of the discussion is directly available here from the City of Pflugerville.
What kind of city will Pflugerville be expected to become in fifteen years when the population is much greater? This was one kind of question proposed for the retreat agenda. If substantial agreement could be reached about the answer, it would presumably be helpful in giving some direction to the deliberations undertaken and the actions approved by the Council in coming years.
What was not proposed was any inclusion of an agenda item about how adoption of smart growth policies would influence the development of Pflugerville.
In a webpage posted by PCDC, it is written that "Our city leaders are dedicated to facilitating smart growth...."
There are indications that smart growth is being adopted in Hutto. An article entitled "Hutto's Smart Growth Plan" by Beth Wade has recently appeared (October 10, 2008) in the Communty Impact Newspaper.
Can anyone find in the archives of the City of Pflugerville where a City Council decision has been reached to adopt smart growth for all of Pflugerville?
What has been done is to adapt much of the Smart Code for use in formulating zoning regulations for the SH 45 and SH 130 Corridors. See "Zoning for the SH 130 and SH 45 Corridor Areas." This has greatly reduced the possibility for the construction of single-family homes in a very large section of Pflugerville. If the momentum of this decision is carried forward, it may mean that the pursuit of the suburban lifestyle will be discouraged and the character of the city will not be preserved.
In the 2008 PfCONA Candidate Forum preceding the City Council elections, one candidate presented the case against the inclusion in Pflugerville of the kind of urban growth boundary found in the Portland area, an area which has been a model for smart growth but at the same time a center of controversy. Other issues pertaining to formally adopting smart growth itself received little if any attention in the 2008 campaigns.
Suburbia is under attack by advocates of smart growth not only in the United States but also in many other countries in the world.
There is a passage in the "Sprawl vs. Smart Growth" section of Planetizen: Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning (2007) that is quoted elsewhere in these web pages and says it all: "If able to deliver on its promises, smart growth could be instrumental in the creation of a new American dream - one that perhaps features an urban flat in a neighborhood where everything is within walking distance."
Most of the people who have moved to Pflugerville in the past twenty years certainly did not come here with the dream of living in an urban flat where everything is within walking distance.
Rail transit was another topic considered for a possible place in the retreat agenda. It seems appropriate to mention here that an opinion article by Jim Skaggs appearing in the January 16, 2009, issue of the Austin-American Statesman includes an assertion that each passenger soon to be traveling daily by rail on the Leander to Austin route would require a subsidy of approximately $20,000.00 per year.
Jim Skaggs' Transportation Comments
Also see "About Old Town Pflugerville Vision."
And "Old Town Revitalization."
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