Friday, August 28, 2009

Important land use fight where the Roloff family lives

A few people contacted the blog -- fans and residents, asking if we would post an item about this issue. We do try to pass along all things Roloff and Little People, Big World and this might eventually impact the Roloffs.

There is a very important battle going on as we speak over land use where the Roloffs live, the county of Helvetia, just outside Hillsboro, Oregon.

To summarize quickly, the fight is over how the land is designated. City officials want the land to be designated as Urban reserves. Many residents want the land to be designated as Rural reserves. City officials say it is vital for the economy and industry around Hillsboro -- they want to be able to use the land to build a high tech core - which could be used for condominiums, etc. Many residents want the land to remain primarily as farmland - keep the urbanization out and preserve the countryside.

"Jim Johnson, land-use coordinator for the Oregon Department of Agriculture, called that prospect "alarming."

But Hillsboro planning director Pat Ribellia said the land is key to an industry -- high-tech -- that drives the state's economy. "If you're not allowing that to nurture, you kill it."

Washington County has mapped 109,000 outlying acres as rural reserves and left remaining areas undesignated.

Farms, orchards and stables cover the land in question north of Hillsboro. Bicyclists come for peaceful rides through the countryside and for burgers at Helvetia Tavern. Others visit Roloff Farms, home to the Roloff family of TV's "Little People, Big World."

Concerned residents have formed a website, Save Helvetia. They're asking for support. They're goal is 1000 'Friends of Helvetia'. They have a deadline of August 31st, because the decision could come in September.

You can see the map of the area in question here:

Unrelated to the dispute, but on the map you can see the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course where Amy Roloff's Charity Golf Tournament will be held and just along Highway 26, Portland Community College has a Rockcreek campus, so you can see how close it will be for Jeremy and Zach from the farm if they're attending a class on that particular campus.

From the Save Helvetia website:

Save Helvetia is a coalition of farmers, business owners, concerned citizens, neighbors, and residents of the greater Helvetia area who are working to protect the Helvetia commuinity and its neighboring agricultural lands.

The rural areas north of Highway 26 provide access to country life for many people who live in nearby urban areas. Centuries-old migration paths and habitat sites for deer, elk, cougars, coyotes, bobcats, pileated woodpeckers, beavers, Western bluebirds, eagles, kestrels, and a variety of other wildlife run through the area, which also contains many large stands of historic White Oak trees.

Metro and its three surrounding counties are currently involved in a new process called Urban and Rural Reserves
. They are considering designating much of the farmland north of Highway 26 as urban reserves. This means that our agricultural community will fade away as farmland is converted to housing developments. On the other hand, if this area is designated as RURAL reserves, then the farms and amenities of the Helvetia area would be protected for the next 50 years.

Do you enjoy bicycling through our community? Do you eat the plentiful fresh fruits and vegetables we enjoy in metro Portland and the seasonal items and local wines that grace the menus of Portland’s award-winning restaurants? Do you pick pumpkins or strawberries, cut your own Christmas tree, run, hike, or just relax in Helvetia?

If so, we urge you to support our mission by submitting your comments to the Reserves decision-makers.

The Helvetia area is home to such notable features as the Helvetia church and cemetery, the Rice Northewest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, Hevetia Vineyards and Winery and the Helvetia Tavern. Many people know of the Helvetia area because of the television series featuring the Roloffs and their farm. Helvetia also hosts many annual events, such as the Helvetia Half Marathon, the lavender festival, and the Swiss Festival."

Honestly, I'm unsure what the Roloffs support regarding this issue, although Roloff Farm is referenced by the Save Helvetia website. Matt Roloff has a history of not being shy about using their fame to get attention and support for matters they care about and they haven't spoken about this recently. In earlier seasons of the show, Matt spoke about how Agri-tainment as he calls the Roloff Farm helps keep the business and housing development out. However, one would think that if the land is designated as Urban Reserves, Matt would have more freedom to build whatever he wants on his farm without some of the farmland restrictions that has been heated issues in the past (the whole 'is it a real farm or is it an amusement park?' debate).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If Matt fights this one, it will show his hypocrisy to other Oregonians who fought alongside of him during the Measure 37 debate. He came down on the side of Development...even making a video about it.