Sat
Jul 22 2006
08:12 pm

I have so much to report, I don't know where to start. Early in the week or maybe it was last weekend, I walked around the neighborhood and listened to what people had to say about the proposed development. I wanted to talk first to those in the belly of the beast, so to speak, so I started with a house on Magazine immediately adjacent to the property. An elderly lady came to the door. I asked her if the property behind her house was the one being considered for development. She said yes.

Me: "How do you feel about it?"

Her: "Well I think its alright."

Me: Huh. "Thats a lot of houses they want to put back there."

Her: "Yes."

Me: "So you won't mind having all those people right out your back door?"

Her: "Oh, no. I won't mind having some good neighbors. I'll like that."

Me: Huh. "Ok, well I just wanted to see how you were feeling about it."

Her: "I feel alright about it."

Me: Huh. "OK, goodbye now." Huh.

Turns out, as I was to discover from the next gentleman I talked to, I had just had my first conversation with the woman who was selling the property. Nice. The next several neighbors were not as accommodating to the proposed development. The first gentleman, Mr. F. happens to be in the unfortunate predicament of having his driveway be the never-gonna-happen continuation of a road that if it had a place to go would be the undeveloped sinkholes behind his yard that are the contentious property. Thus if the property is developed, Mr. F's driveway will become the extension of that road and an access point into the development. Mr. S., another kindly elder, lives next door and part of his yard is on of the large sinkholes. Heavy rains cause it to fill to depths of 20 feet and more and completely floods what will probably be an access road to the property. J & A also have a yard that butts up to the property. They are on the opposite side of the property from Mr. F & Mr. S. When the sinkhole overflows behind their house, their yard is flooded so deeply that they can ride around in their kayaks. Finally, I spent 3 hours with SJ walking the property. I had never been in this forest's interior. Its enchanting and heartbreaking.

As much as I love the woods, I'm no naturalist. I wish it were so. I would love to be able to give an accounting of all the trees, bushes, mosses, and other plants I saw. There were big old hardwoods - maples, oaks, walnut. There were stately poplars and cedars. There were dogwoods, redbuds, crepe myrtle, and mimosas. How many species? I wish I knew. Have these woods ever been developed? I'm told they have not. Had it ever been logged? Don't know. Could it be old growth? Could it? What I was able to surmise from my most enjoyable bushwhack is that its a 14.5 acre carbon eating, air purifying, water sucking, critter homing, happy making oasis. It should be cherished and preserved to the greatest extent possible. Its worth fighting for.

Here's an image from Google Earth. Its the big, undeveloped forest in the middle. A point of interest, the body of water you see on the northeast side of the property is a flood. It only exists when it rains hard and the sinkholes fill. This satellite image must have been taken during heavy rains.

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