Friday, July 13, 2007

Action Update

Yes, it is still a serious matter, and will be for a long time. If this proposed project is rejected by the community, another one will be proposed. (The previous big development proposal for this area was a casino, proposed by the Delaware indian tribe that owns land in the area. It is interesting to ponder how this current project could be approved without allegations of discrimination cropping up.)

No, I'm not dropping daily life to panic about it.

After initially responding from my old-style "panic mode", I've calmed down and realized that in this, as in all things, I can trust that God is at work. How and towards what end, I have no idea. But all I need to do is figure out what exactly is my own business in all of this, and mind it, one step at a time. And keep my side of the street--or ditch, in this case--clean so that I'm acting with integrity and living out my values.

In this case, as in most, the first thing I need to do is get the facts from the people who have them. In this case, that meant a visit with the City/County Planning Office staff.

In 2000, when the North of North Street long range development plan was developed (but apparently never approved, even in draft form), quoting from an article in Pitch, "The city's policy is to annex property when it is surrounded or nearly surrounded by city limits," according to David Corliss, Lawrence assistant city manager. (You may be interested to read the entire Pitch article at It includes a great photo of Toss and me herding sheep, with the Torii and Willow Row in the background.)

When I asked the same question this time--"Will I be forcibly annexed if this development is approved?"--the Planning staff person I spoke with assured me that the city's policy is NOT to forcibly annex "islands" of county ground, as long as the property owners do not want city services. As reassurance, she showed me maps of several small "pockets" of county land virtually surrounded by city. (I will try to get this in writing, confirmed by the city manager.)

This change in attitude/policy may seem small, but to me it is HUGE. If true, if I can get that in writing, then I will feel as if I have substantially succeeded in one of my ultimate goals for the farm: that it remain in perpetuity a farm, with its human occupants having the right to use it as such to the fullest extent they wish.

And if true, this is a demonstration that change DOES happen, though at a glacial pace. The battleship IS turning around, as fast as it can, even though that is very, very slow. An affirmation of hope for win-win solutions, a happy outcome to this whole process. An affirmation that if we can be clear about what we want, and be patient, eventually common sense will prevail.

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