Escarpment Blues

Last weekend we took a spin 30 miles west of town in what, when I was a child, we always called “the mountains.” We never even called it “the mountain front,” and it was only after I took geology in college that I learned to refer to it as “the Blue Ridge Escarpment.” Of course I’m talking about our local landscape’s thrust toward immortality, the...

Not Another Boiling Springs

There’s a theory that everyone has an opposite somewhere in the world, a person that is you, only it’s your dark twin turned 180 degrees. I just spent a week in a vibrant little village in southern Ohio. Boiling Springs, South Carolina, meet Yellow Springs, Ohio. Boiling Springs, once a quaint farming community north of Spartanburg, has been in the news lately as a model for poor...

Spartanburg County Council’s Lost Decade

Spartanburg County Council is contemplating entry into the modern era of land-use planning. As Yogi Berra so famously said, “It’s deja vu all over again.” You see, talk of Spartanburg County land-use planning is nothing new. It came up here a decade ago. There’s talk now of a referendum in November with a single question to see which way the land-use winds are blowing....

Land-use so an Alien can Understand it

I was out weeding my wildflower garden this week and, I kid you not, a spaceship landed. It was small and looked a little like an outdoor charcoal grill, all shiny and round. When it spoke I realized it was not an errant flying charcoal grill, but a curious creature from a galaxy far away. “What could you possibly want with us?” I asked. The grill said with a high electric voice that...

Future Shock

The thought of what Spartanburg County will look like decades in the future disturbs my sleep. On my worst nights I see a vision of unregulated surreal sprawl as we cling to outmoded ideas of prosperity and growth. In my vision massive cinder block distribution plants for America’s out-of-control consumption are laid out helter-skelter along the I-85 corridor because no company with higher...

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