Many people enjoy the character of our rural areas, and with agricultural tourism and the local food movement, rural areas are increasingly seen as an important community resource. However, as suburban sprawl continues to creep outward, many of these rural areas may be in jeopardy due to subdivision activity.
What are the tools we need to protect our rural areas?
Give us your thoughts -- click "comments" below:
An e-mailed response:
Transferable Development Rights?
A response emailed from Barry Boneno:
Keep the farm land in southeastern winston salem.
The pitiful little farmland and forest in Southeast Forsyth should be preserved at all costs. Take all that open land designated for "future development" and put it off limits to development. Your rampant development has destroyed the character of southeastern Forsyth for all it's residents.
It is difficult to own tracts of property and pay the taxes, so when people who own these farms are given an offer by a developer, what incentive do they have to keep it natural? The city should keep every inch of currently available and undeveloped land the way it is, or turn it into natural parks that are not over developed with groomed parking areas or sports fields: Natural means 'AS IS" and that is it! Look at the barren wasteland beyond Hanes Mall Blvd! I remember when this was all farmland, and it is sad to see the horrific end result of development.
Money to purchase land to make sure we preserve its rural character.
Educational campaign to convince people to donate open space and develop in a less dense way.
Set density standards.
Zoning - regulation - land use conservation incentives
Ordinances & easements
Do not allow mass removal of vegetation on development sites (in order to stop fragmentation)
See example in Albemarle County, VA, where residents/land owners pledge to keep land as "natural"/agrarian
Consider valuing natural resources more highly by placing monetary value on them. For instance, in central VA, some farmers are paid to convert land to forest as part of water management strategies. We need to find a way to break the rule that land is always more valuable when it is built upon.
Have boundaries of urban centers, suburban, and rural areas. Make sure that zoning is appropriate and does not support sprawl. For instances, a Food Lion constructed in a rural farm setting could potentially create an area of commercial buildings that swarms the rural places.
Do not run utilities to these areas
Designations with scenic byways & protection of old barns & structures depicting our rural past.
Handcuff the developers & haul them away.
NO streetlights in newly annexed areas & take down those that have been put up.
Sidewalks in developments are put too far from the street, creating strips of wasted land between street & sidewalk.
While in the past there has been a Farm Conservation program for Forsyth County, my understanding is that it has rarely been funded. A very positive change would be to reestablish this department with funding, to encourage farming to continue and the integrity of the farms to be protected. Incentives in the form of conservation easements need to be strengthened and funded, as well as tax incentives to continue working farms.
We also need to continue to develop a master plan for parks in the county, and then encourage our elected officials to support this master plan for setting aside land for parks. Increasing population in the city and county will require planning ahead to provide peaceful places for them to go for outdoor recreation, to play, and just to be in nature.
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