Thursday, August 4, 2011

Planning and Environmental Justice

As I was riding my bike around town recently I noticed a new gravel crusher that had gone in this summer. The gravel crusher is temporary I assume because it's adjacent to airport and is being used for runway resurfacing. The crusher is in industrial zone but directly across the street from a mobile home park that houses mostly low-income and minority families.

When I saw the public notice posted at the site it was in English. Should the City have posted the notice in Spanish also? I don't think this is a huge issue, mostly because it's temporary but the crusher operates from about 6:30 am to 6:30 pm. Maybe the neighbors don't care or maybe they don't have the information to know that they have a say in the process.

Where I work I don't think it's that unusual to think that we don't have environmental justice issues because it's a small, rural area. However, as a planner one of the tenants of APA ethics is to make sure that all citizens have an opportunity to be informed and participate. When there are non-English speaking groups affected it seems that we should all work harder to make sure that all people impacted have the information they need.

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