Friday, October 26, 2007

Franklin Wants To Dissolve Its Environmental Commission: The Road To Sprawlville, Chapter V

The Road To Sprawlville, this blog's continuing series of posts about careless 'development' of land and water resources in the region, heads away from Pabst Farms and Waukesha County this week to the City of Franklin (pop. 34,000), our Milwaukee County neighbor to the south.

This small and growing community (Northwestern Mutual Insurance has opened a glitzy new campus there: don't you just love the language...campus?) has been spared some of the worst aspects of environmental degradation, in part through the actions of a strong, and at times, outspoken city Environmental Commission.

How is the government there responding now, as more and more development battles heat up in Franklin?

And where the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources seems to have set the tone for officialdom by declining to stop recent wetlands fillings so developers can keep right on building?

Mayor Tom Taylor, perhaps taking a cue from the DNR's passivity, has gone one step further by proposing, in his 2008 budget, the elimination of the environmental commission.

Now there's a novel approach: it you have watchdogs right in city hall, and they are serious about their role, and they rub some VIP's the wrong way - - well: just throw those environmentalists out.

That'll take care of those pesky problem people who want ridiculous things, like clean air, managed traffic, wetlands preservation and some balance between construction, business expansion and nature's peace and quiet.


I doubt it.

You can check on Franklin issues at one local blogger, Sprawled Out.


John said...

As I note in my blog only somewhat facetiously (which you've linked), the mayor's proposal to dissolve the Franklin Environmental Commission may end up being a positive step. The EC had been made incrementally ineffective by a distinctly pro-development administration, and formerly ambivalent citizens here are now wondering what's behind dissolving the commission and its oversight.

The upper hand wielded by developers in Franklin is becoming more and more obvious, further underscored by this story.

xfervor said...

I work for Northwestern Mutual. During a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Rep. Paul Ryan he said "I want everyone here to remember this 27th Street Corridor. It will look completely different soon." I felt like heckling "Oh, you mean the beautiful fields, trees, flowers, streams, open spaces, and roads that don't stop every 10 feet?" I know NM didn't help create this reality, but the fact is there was an ugly outdoor theatre there before. New pristine land wasn't carved up. And they also successfully opposed a sprawling car dealership across the street. But the Republicans aren't nearly as picky. Business is business.