By Loretta Bodiford

At a meeting on the new General Plan, public comments largely recognized the plan’s emphasis on “growth” with little attention towards quality of this rural area. Two speakers essentially labeled locals as NIMBYs, saying they always have, continue to and will always have the same opinions.

They failed to recognize that these are well-informed people who appreciate being closer to and a part of nature, who have mostly lived in many big cities (I have lived in Orange and LA counties, born in San Diego, lived in Phoenix and Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia).

Later in life we learn to appreciate fewer crowds, noise, chaos and cherish what everyone needs to some degree: silence, inspiration and our basic need to connect with nature, which can become a connection to our Maker and that essence of the larger purpose for which we were created.

Most of my friends are seniors, are here for the rural atmosphere and do not want or need big box stores, strip malls, paved over countryside, etc. We are all downsizing and do not need more stuff.

At any given time in Willow Springs there are six or more homes on the market in an eight square block area. In town there are once-fine old houses that could be fixed up (some have been). We’ve all endured the cookie-cutter subdivisions in areas where hillsides are packed with too many homes, even huge, nice ones, with vegetation having been scraped out, new plantings placed and trees which will someday be large and soften and enhance the community. Some day.

When I retired, I wanted greenery around me and a small home would be just fine provided there were trees, birds and other wildlife. Turned out a real fixer-upper with ugly, bare yards and one broken Aspen became my home. After 12-15 years, I had some greenery and privacy.

A rural town should remain rural and growth should work with nature to retain as many native trees and plants as possible and to address the serious water issues. I’ve seen dozens of areas in my 79 years where developers have taken lovely areas, denuded them, built too many homes, paved over too much earth, caused needed infrastructure and county services for which they did not fully pay so taxpayers did.

A far-sighted developer will design a plan to maximize the natural area being disturbed as little as possible, using solar so as not to require additional infrastructure from polluting energy companies and all other up-to-date technologies.

The very with-it developer who built 49 homes in the Sacramento area (all solar) not only avoided added power infrastructure for his project but his homes now power many previously existing homes.

Yes, I, too, have a bit of a NIMBY attitude but know better informed and caring people can choose smaller dwellings and maintain a closer connection to nature. Profit is not and never should be the primary and/or only factor.

These actions affect future generations as well thus meaning we should always attempt to look at the big picture not just our little rice bowl which might leave a negative legacy for the community.

Loretta Bodiford lives in Soulsbyville. She worked for 38 years in medical field and four years for a defense contractor in Washington, D.C.

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