County Executive Parisi hits the nail on the head when he writes that Fitchburg's proposed Northeast Neighborhood is, as the headline says, "neither smart nor safe growth" (Opinion, 10/30/2014).
Why are Mayor Pfaff and his council allies so determined to push through this unneeded urban extension? Why don't they concentrate on filling in the 1,126 acres already approved for development?
In its application to the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission, Fitchburg used old population projections from 2003. The new projections, released in February 2014, predict 5,766 fewer people for Fitchburg by the year 2030. Calculating demand using the new projections shows that Fitchburg already has enough developable land within its current Urban Service Area for the next 20 years.
The millennials are looking for walkable, urban neighborhoods with access to public transportation. Fitchburg is well situated to give them what they want in Uptown, along a rail line that could one day carry passengers.
Our climate is becoming wetter and wilder, which means that areas that might once have been suitable for development no longer are.
On Nov. 13, CARPC should reject this extremely risky proposal, which endangers Lake Waubesa, its wetlands, and the neighboring Meadowview Neighborhood.
Phyllis Hasbrouck, Chair, West Waubesa Preservation Coalition
Wetlands are exceptional components of landscapes, providing far more ecosystem services per area than do drier lands and deeper waters. All people benefit from wetland services -- water quality improvement, flood abatement, carbon storage, as well as recreation, education and scientific use.
The Clean Water Act regulates discharges of sediment, nutrients and other pollutants to the nation's waters. But regulations concern a subset of wetlands recognized by the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the regulations only aim to reduce, not eliminate, impacts.
Because we are not fully protecting wetlands, we need an ethic that motivates people to volunteer extra protection, so that remaining wetlands can provide essential services. A wetland ethic would foster conservation and restoration of wetland biota and natural functions for posterity.
Landowners in the town of Dunn voluntarily protect wetlands for the benefit of all people, but Waubesa Wetlands are severely threatened by upstream land uses that are not guided by a similar ethic. Rather than more development, I recommend more wetland restoration upstream.
Joy B. Zedler, Town of Dunn