From DAVE SMITH
To the Editors:
August 17, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California
It is obvious why DDR’s Measure A eliminates the requirement for the California Environmental Review Act (CEQA) that is usually an automatic requirement for a project this size. Big Box retail parking lots rank among the most harmful land uses in any watershed. During rain storms, parking lots deliver a hefty dose of toxic pollutants leaked by vehicles or deposited from the atmosphere — including phosphorous, hydrocarbons, heavy metals, herbicides and pesticides — into our nearby water bodies.
While a 200,000 square-foot mall covers 4 acres and consumes another 12 for parking, the same amount of retail spread over two floors in a Main Street-style setting with shared parking takes up only 4 acres. The Masonite Monster Mall is four times that size (800,000 square feet). In some cases, permits for big-box projects have been denied on the grounds that they would add additional pollution to a nearby river. DDR has eliminated that possibility and denied the democratic control of our own environment with Measure A.
Instead of creating more disastrous car-dependent sprawl, the solution is to revitalize what is already here — our own walkable, bikeable downtown business district. Compact downtowns that have multi-story buildings, multi-story parking, and support a mix of uses, take up far less land and create far less polluting runoff.
Measure A is an attempt by slickster outside corporations to colonize our valley and override our zoning requirements with big bucks and pretty pictures… while insisting that, somehow, their Monster Mall, full of boring Big Boxes, Corporate Chains, and Industrial Food Restaurants, just like everywhere else, will be “shopping local”. Ha! What a bad joke! What they will do to our now-liveable environment is import the ugly sprawl, pollution, and traffic horrors of Santa Rosa and points south, while exporting our hard-earned cash to Wall Street fat cat investors who couldn’t care less about our small valley.
Thank you for voting No on Measure A to preserve our unique, locally-owned businesses and neighborly small town values.