Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Senator Townsend and Cohorts Say No "Naturehood" for Ogletown

Governor Ruth Ann Minner at Newark's Community Day, 2004
By Angela Connolly | Livable Delaware was the signature initiative of Governor Ruth Ann Minner’s first term. It was a sustainable land-use agenda that promoted thoughtful growth. She stated that "We need to pursue a strategy that will keep sprawl in check, reduce traffic congestion, strengthen our towns and cities, and protect our huge investment in roads, schools and other infrastructure. I propose to call it “Livable Delaware.”

This Democrat initiative SHOULD have been honored and followed. But in the years since its inception, "Livable Delaware" has become a farce and a joke for many Delawareans, particularly in New Castle County. We continue to watch helplessly as Democratic leadership casts Environmental stewardship aside. Advocates and Environmentalists watched helplessly as, with the stroke of a pen, HB-190 was signed into law. This bill was created by Democratic Legislators Townsend and Osienski, and was signed into law by current Gov John Carney. It lifts the Coastal Zone protections put into place by former Governor Russell Peterson (R) in 1971. Destruction of natural lands (not channeled to redevelopment) continues unabated under Democrat's leadership. Residents near new housing construction are seeing an unprecedented number of dead wildlife, killed by cars as they flee the destruction of their habitat homes. It is even more offensive when these new developments are sold to NCC Council as walkable/bikeable, because a few asphalt pathways are included, and thus it will "reduce car trips".

Perhaps most tragic is when a handful of people, in this case the Legislators, recklessly decide a future course dictated by profiteering, that will negatively impact generations to come. Senator Bryan Townsend, Rep Ed Osienski, Councilwoman Lisa Diller, and, later in the game, County Exec Matt Meyer are prime examples. These four alone are directly responsible for selling out a major carbon-sequestering natural habitat area in Ogletown, 180 acres of forests, fields and wetlands that was filled with wildlife -- some of which is endangered. They decided through their failure to save this land for a pittance -- the last of its kind for an entire region -- that the people of Ogletown-S. Newark and the larger surrounding area were not worthy of a "Naturehood" of their own. These residents didn't deserve a place to build community, to engage in healthy activities, and to enjoy stunning views of Iron Hill -- things that only a Regional Park at this location could have offered. No. Instead, by their own admission, they kept the development secret for the first two years they learned of it, lying, and bungling every opportunity that was presented to them since -- up to and including the time when the Developers themselves were willing to sit down, listen to and consider a deal that could have saved the land.

This billboard "Every Neighborhood has a Naturehood" spent months posted up on Marrows Road in Newark, adjacent to Kimberton. It was recently replaced, and it should be given our legislator's utter lack of concern for land conservation.

, the next time you hear Democrats like Senator Townsend, Representative Osienski, Councilwoman Lisa Diller, and County Exec Matt Meyer talking about how bad Trump and the Republicans are on Environmental issues, don't believe them. Remember it is THEY -- Democrats -- who are responsible for the loss of this open space, critical habitat and regional park opportunity, along with so many others like it that are being obliterated as we speak.

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