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What you need to know for this week's forum

October 27, 2004

Here's an introductory Q&A that will explain why you should attend

the upcoming Smart Growth Forum being hosted by the League of Women

Voters. The forum is from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday in the second-floor

Community Room at the Glendale Fire Station, 421 Oak St., Glendale.

Q: Why are there no trees in all these new housing developments

that we see popping up around our towns?

A: Because building codes require enough parking for all the

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tenants, and builders are digging below the new buildings for

subterranean parking; subterranean parking makes the existence of

trees impossible because there is no place for their roots.

Q: Why is it important to save trees?

A: Because we breathe the oxygen that trees create -- no trees, no

oxygen. Famed architectural philosopher Richard Neutra also believed

that humans have the need for life among trees encoded in their DNA.

Q: Why don't developers put in above-ground parking, so we can

keep the trees and have real park-like settings in these new

developments instead of a few potted palms?

A: Good question.

Q: We have some wonderful old homes and buildings in Glendale and

Burbank. Will they all have to be torn down for new developments?

A: Historic preservation and reuse of old buildings is a big part

of Smart Growth. Like what Pasadena did with all the old buildings in

Old Town. Yes, according to the L.A. Conservancy and Glendale

Historical Society, our cities need to take serious looks at historic

preservation as we grow, too.

Q: I'm still thinking about that underground parking and tree

issue. Is above-ground parking more expensive than subterranean

parking?

A: Not by a long shot. Subterranean parking probably costs

developers 10 times as much.

Q: Gasoline is up to $2.50 a gallon. How will people afford to

commute any longer?

A: Good question. About time we took a serious look at mass

transportation options, huh? How about "multi-use" work and housing

and shopping developments, so people don't have to drive such long

distances?

Q: I'm still wondering about those trees. If above-ground parking

is less expensive than underground parking, and if above-ground

parking would allow us to save and plant trees, why aren't more

developers putting in above-ground parking in these new developments?

A: I've heard quite a few answers to that question when

questioning city staffs and urban developers. Some told me it is

because citizens don't want the added story that would be necessary

in new buildings in order to accommodate above-ground parking. An

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