How to Urbanize a Village

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How To Urbanize a Village

Step 1: Bulldoze a productive triangle of trees, fruits, and flowers, digging out shore pines, blackberries, fireweed, and salal, thus:
• Eliminating plants that clean and refresh the village’s air every day and night.
• Diminishing a living system which manages water and sequesters carbon.
• Eliminating food and habitat for essential insects and birds.

Step 2: Fill the triangle with big buildings, specifically:
• With the maximum allowable number of buildings, each with the maximum possible square-footage.
• Include large walls and windows which absorb and re-radiate heat rather than cool it.
• Make buildings as tall as legally allowed, higher than any trees they replace, regardless of the height of neighboring roofs and heedless of creating sight barriers for pedestrians and others who live in the area.

This is what cities are like. The three buildings in the triangle bordered by Beach, Pacific, and Carmel Streets in Manzanita are apparently being constructed under a single permit, Number 547-21-000169-DWL, issued on June 28, 2021. I assume this project is perfectly legal under Manzanita’s building codes and City planning ordinances. Is this what we want our so-called village to become?

Manzanita has a Comprehensive Plan, which theoretically underlies such codes, adopted in March 1996. The last amendments to the Plan were adopted in April 2014. According to the Plan, “The planning horizon for this document is the year 2010,” which is 12 years ago.

In a world increasingly aware of human obligations for the quality of life across the planet, the structures at 22 Pacific Lane seem ecologically irresponsible and unneighborly. Is our community ready to think about new guidelines for planning which aim toward ecological resilience and foster a more liveable community in a place we love?

Phyllis Thompson
Manzanita, OR