It’s no secret that preservationists are wary of development. To clarify, there are different types of development. Broadly there are two: 1. that which is sensitive to open space, existing development, and resources – or 2. That which is none of the above and is what we call sprawl. Progress is great; it’s what made this country what it is; but, is progress measured by development regardless of its effects on the natural and cultural resources?
For example, here in Southern Pines, Route 22 is currently being rerouted because it is too close to the airport. A traffic circle is underway in order to alleviate traffic. In turn, acres and acres of trees are gone. And right near this traffic circle will be a new grocery store and a new animal shelter (last I’ve heard), probably among other new stores. In my opinion, this will replace the alleviated traffic, thereby creating the same amount of traffic as before. Here is an article from the local paper. While it portrays a positive light on the situation, I’m still skeptical about the traffic.
However, aside from the traffic issues, the new grocery store vexes me. There are a few nearby the area, about 15 minutes away. That may seem like a lot to those of us from suburbia, but here in relatively rural Moore County, 8 miles or 15 minutes is not far to drive nor is it stressful. Yet, people who live in that area, Whispering Pines as well as the new developments, will most likely be happy to have a closer grocery store. Of course, a new grocery store will be extremely clean and relatively entertaining just for the novelty of it. However, this store is a Harris Teeter, which happens to have another store eight miles away. Why couldn’t a different chain come to balance out the market?
These ideas may seem scattered, so here is the internal debate for me: I do not agree with another Harris Teeter despite that it would be on the way home from work for Vinny. I do not agree with the acres that have been deforested for development. At the same time, I understand the population is growing here and people deserve the basics like a grocery store. (Although this necessitates me to say that when you choose to live in a rural area, you should know what you’re getting into including the time it takes to do errands. Otherwise, do not live in a rural area.) Will I completely avoid this grocery store? I don’t know. Should I? I’m not completely sure. If I intend to avoid brand new stores that have overtaken acres of forest, I might run out of places to shop. For now the bottom line is that I haven’t quite figured out my standards on where I allow myself to shop or not and what determines those standards. I am leaning towards banning brand new stores, particularly when other options exist nearby. I’ll keep you posted – all are welcome to weigh in on the situation.
(And of course to clarify one more point: historic preservationists are not anti-development. We just hope that it is sensible and takes resources into account.)