Last week’s poll asked what firmness of mattress you prefer. While I personally prefer a soft mattress, and the wife is ok with it, I know that there are plenty of people out there who really prefer to sleep in utter discomfort on hard mattresses. While it was nice to see that there were so many people who chose soft or in-between, those of you who prefer firm mattresses are insane. Ugh. :-)
This week’s poll comes after reading this StarTribune article which bring to light a $20 million program which has bought up ~8,000 acres of land to keep it out of reach of developers–and in many cases, the people who funded the program.
From the article:
Dakota’s effort is widely considered a model program: The county leveraged the initial $20 million to bring in $58 million in grants and donations. Aiming to protect open land and make water cleaner, the county targeted properties that join lakes, rivers and streams. The county has 78 conservation easements so far.
The county pays the landowners for the easements, which restrict future use of the property to open space or farming and set requirements for how the owners must manage and maintain the land.
Al Singer, land conservation manager for Dakota County, said the easements cost less than buying the land while keeping it on the tax rolls and in the hands of owners who will farm it or maintain it.
“The County Board has not taken the position that public access was required because of all of the other public benefits gained by protecting selected properties,” Singer said.
While not all public groups using public monies to protect lands require access to these sites, there are some that do. But the real problem here is the county should spend more time informing the public as to their intent, per parcel, and ask for input on how those monies are used; perhaps even changing their requirements to match other public groups who demand the public have access to purchased lands if that is what the people desire.
Of the 10 comments on the StarTribune site as of publishing, many are against the actions of Dakota County. One commenter notes that one purchase was definitely a problem:
How stupid is this – pay $21,000 per acre for an easement that doesn’t provide any public access? Buying the property outright shouldn’t cost much more than that. Dakota county messed up.
boylan Sep. 6, 12 12:09 AM
However, one commenter supports the actions of the county claiming the public ruins public lands and thus their money should be used to purchase the lands while forbidding access to it:
The land is not just for the people. I love that they selflessly put it aside. That will keep people from ruining it. This privet land will still benefit everyone, by providing fresh air, healthy wild life, and much more.
neeners Sep. 6, 12 7:35 AM
So which do you think should be the case? Is taking land out of the hands of developers, possibly at high public cost, worth it when it cannot be used by the people who paid for it in the first place? Should the County be forced to make a change to the way it handles these sorts of transactions to ensure public access? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and vote on the sidebar and then comment on below. After you do both of those things feel free to check out our expired polls in the archive or read through the previous posts about polls here.