ANOTHER IN OUR SERIES OF POSTINGS FROM GUARDIAN READERS
By MATT CIRANNI
I was up Hideden Springs in the foothills recently and I was shocked at the flagrant destruction of open space that has taken place.
Foothills developments seem to have been escalating recently despite popular
opposition, and despite city and county planners paying lip service to protecting
open spaces. However, I have never seen anything done to this extent, and in this fashion.
The area between Cartwright and Dry Creek roads amounts to a virtual gouging of the land. Instead of responsibly building around and over the existing topography, the developer simply flattened entire hills and filled in whole valleys, creating a landscape similar to a strip mine like you would see in Montana.
At least a couple million cubic yards have been moved or excavated, I estimate without exageration. Current Creek, which once flowed under the area, is now buried under at least 10-20 feet of fill dirt. Bulldozers have turned up
remains of freshwater mullusks, embedded in the shale, that have possibly been buried in the landscape for hundreds of years or more. Whole hillsides have been
removed, in some cases leaving cut banks over 50 feet high from where the hill was sliced in half.
Worse than the devastation to make way for yet more homes for the wealthy, is the issue of broken promises. The developer originally set aside this area to be open space, free from development. In fact that was one of the selling points of the area that the developer promised. Ridge to Rivers had a network of official trails here, that are now gone. And Hidden Springs residents have lost an area where they used to walk their dogs and commune with nature.
I am not sure how the county approved this monstrosity, or whether they were even aware of the scope of the project. It may well have been rushed through the approval
process. Even from a geo-physical standpoint, it is a badly designed project, due to the potential of soil erosion from the high steep banks and abundant fill dirt,
atop a former drainage.
I have been active in trying to protect our open spaces from development for a while, and it is frustrating because it is a losing battle. Hopefully, with more understanding, we can at least lessen the chances of something like this happening again.
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