Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Different Meanings of "Preserved"

From the first announcement, the May Town Center has been touted as being "green" because, in part, it was claimed that 900 acres of the 1,500 acres would be "preserved" through the use of conservation easements. One would be excused for believing that this meant that nothing would happen on those 900 acres, that they would remain in a natural state. As it turns out, the Mays have a different idea of what "preserved" means.

Section 9 of the MTC re-zonign application notes:

Approximately two thirds of the subject property, no less than 900 acres, will be permanently dedicated, via conservation easements, as property preserved in a rural state. For comparison's sake, this is an area larger than the exising Bells Bend Park, and it will serve a variety of purposes for May Town Center and the public at large. (p. 48)

The easements are in 6 different categories.

Now, since they are comparing themselves to Bells Bend Park -- our low-impact, environmental park -- and talking about "preserving in a rural state," you might be surprised to know that the "Natural Conservation Areas" -- the most preserved under their plan -- will included up to 6 "estate homes" each of up to 7,500 square feet on 5 acres. (p. 48)

The "Office Campus Conservation Area" will include 227 acres of corporate campuses. (p. 48)

103 acres of conservation easement will incude "ball fields, tennis courts or other similar recreational amenities" and "future schools, churches, fire stations and similar uses." (p. 49)

In addition, a certain part will be reserved for a "future marina and related development." (p. 49)

To make sure, I checked the definition of "preserve" in the dictionary, where I found:

"To keep in perfect or unaltered condition; maintain unchanged."

The dictionary didn't mention an exception for adding estate homes, tennis courts or marina developments.