Here is a recent example of the sorts of ways that this success has been enabled. Rather than entirely depending on the political process to get things done, environmental advocacy groups, recreation groups, conservation groups and private interests have frequently put their money where their mouths are and taken up the role of conservation themselves. Private landowners on a famous canoe carry to Raquette Lake around the Marion River rapids were planning on selling property for development purposes (why is another story). Rather than use the town zoning thugs or some obscure environmental law to prevent the sale and development, concerned groups who claimed the land was more valuable in recreation use took it upon themselves to purchase the land and keep it in its natural state:
The Open Space Institute has acquired the historic Marion River canoe carry and 295 surrounding acres in Hamilton County. There has been concern about preserving access to the canoe carry in recent years, after the owner announced plans to build several homes along Utowana Lake. The acquisition will ensure the carry remains open to the public.
“The potential for development made the Marion River Carry a higher, more immediate priority for conservation,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of the private non-profi t land preservation organization.
The OSI is paying $2 million for the land …
A couple of months ago a local resident was going to tear down a Frank Lloyd Wright house for development. Outrage poured from all quarters of this town that was once Wright's winter residence. We have got to stop this! So seemingly everyone in the area rushed to the city council to force this guy to keep his house intact.
I am a fan of the old master, though I also think (gasp!) he built a lot of crap, too. I personally would never live in one of his houses. Not even Falling Water, which is beautiful but not very liveable (and FLW definitely had a bias against tall people).
My argument all along was, well, if this house's continued existence is so valuable to so many people, why don't you buy it? After all, shouldn't the people who value the house pay for the cost, including the opportunity cost, of its preservation? Why should this guy who does not value the house be forced to bear a lot of the cost of its preservation? Most people looked at me as if I was from Mars.
Eventually, someone who wanted to preserve the house made an offer for $2 million. The buyer rejected it as less than what he would make from development. Everyone went nuts again - they said the $2 million was more than the owner paid for the house, he should accept it. Why? He's held this house through the downturn and born the holding costs to make a profit, not just get his money back. If supporters can't come up with another half million, is it really worth saving?
I actually missed the ultimate resolution. A few weeks ago the city council was gearing up to "protect" the house, meaning that supporters could have the house without actually paying for it, a sort of eminent domain seizure this guy likely will never be compensated for.
PS- I love FLW's theaters. He had a home theater in Taliesen West where all the chairs are skewed facing a bit right of the screen. He observed people like to put their legs off to the side when they face the screen and tilt at the waist a bit. He built the theater to match this position. It is a very comfortable way to watch a film. ASU's Gammage auditorium, originally designed for Bagdad I think, is not very attractive from the outside but is an incredibly comfortable place to see a show. It has the widest spacing between rows of seats I have ever seen in a theater. You do not have to stand up for people to move down the aisle. Acoustics there are not great, but a lot of auditoriums of that era screwed up their acoustics. LOL, until a recent renovation it had about 2 women's bathroom stalls for the whole place. The lines for the women's room were the worst I have ever seen. My son and I used to sing a song there (to the tune of the Village People's YMCA): "I'm glad I have a Y chromosome...." I wonder if this was due to the original specs being from Iran?