In 1994 our town came up with a 20-year general plan to limit growth to 25 new units per year. I didn't live here then; I moved here in 2004. The town has a population of 7800 and it is bordered on one side by a protected wetlands, which has a two-lane state highway through it from the big city 10 miles away. This is the only entrance from that direction and the traffic now backs up probably 2 miles at times if there's an event or just at rush hour. There is another state highway bisecting that going through our town and it has been seeing a lot more traffic, too, but it only backs up from about 3 to 6pm most days. The area by the wetlands is light industrial and floods occasionally. We have had floods that make that highway impassable. The city has been trying to plan for "infill" in this area with mixed-use zoning and an additional 300 housing units built over and among retail with projected increase in car trips of 8000 per day. To do this they will bring in 10 feet of fill at the easternmost edge of the wetlands and build on top. If this specific plan is approved, the general plan has to conform so it would be changed 7 years early. I went to 2 planning meetings for this area and never knew that. I talked to merchants who are struggling on the little Main Street of our town and showed them the map of the area to be developed and they didn't realize the size of this development. We are an environmentally concious population and this new area is supposed to be bike and pedestrian friendly, but with regard to traffic mitigation the specific plan says that downtowns are inherently busy places with traffic. I know that there are people who just don't like change but I'm truly not one of them; I am concerned that the rest of our town which we can't really bike in all that safely now is going to be even worse when 8000 cars push more cars through our neighborhoods.
Just to confuse us more, the city is blocking a development that was started in accordance with the general plan 10 years ago which has 100 - 150 units on the border of the wetlands but south of the "infill" area they seem to prefer. I think they cite environmental damage potential and traffic as their reasons. It just doesn't make sense to me. Does it make sense to any of you with planning expertise?