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Tuesday, February 2,2010

We need conversations, not regulations

On Jan. 28, the Boulder County Board of Commissioners voted to grant the designation of “demonstration farm” to a piece of privately owned agricultural land northeast of Boulder. The property, owned by Zia Parker and located on North 63rd Street, will now be utilized to teach permaculture — a form of sustainable, organic farming that works with the local climate and conditions to preserve resources like water.

The commissioners correctly saw that the needs of the community — in this case the need to improve our food security through education about permaculture — were more important than the somewhat contrived concerns of some of Parker’s neighbors. It was a victory of private property rights and sustainability over whining.

Four of Parker’s neighbors opposed the designation, claiming that her classes would increase traffic, create parking problems and change the character of their small neighborhood. It didn’t matter that the county had already tried to address these concerns by limiting Parker to 10 cars on her property or that Parker had already scaled back the nature of her application to the county. The neighbors simply didn’t want this designation to move forward. One claimed to need “screening” to hide the activities on Parker’s farm from view.

Screening? From the activities of farming?

Give us a break!

It’s increasingly clear that Boulder County is developing into a culture of whining. Rather than talking with one another and working through our concerns with our neighbors, we turn to government, hoping to use city or county regulations to increase our comfort, rather than solving problems through conversations. It’s selfish, and it’s mean-spirited.

In this case, four households nearly destroyed a person’s ability to earn a livelihood through teaching sustainable agriculture on her farm because they didn’t want 10 extra cars driving down 63rd Street.

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