Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mixing Produce and People

I was struck by a comment made by Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning regarding the issue of the Harbin Farm stand in Ellicott City. According to this story by Derek Simmonsen in the Howard County Times, the DPZ believes that the zoning change that the Harbin family is seeking to keep their produce stand at the corner of Route 99 and Old Mill Road would be “out of character” with the “surrounding residential area.”


Wouldn’t it make sense to keep a produce stand close to the people who actually consume the produce?

This past January, Roger Lewis, professor emeritus of the University of Maryland School of Architecture, gave a talk in Columbia about planning in which criticized zoning as “planning with a blunt instrument.” He was referring by the tendency of zoning efforts to segment different uses rather than allowing a synergistic mix. This segmenting mindset leads to more vehicle trips and congestion.

That would seem to argue in favor of finding a way to keep the Harbin Farm stand exactly where it is.


Anne said...

I completely agree about the need for a "synergistic mix". I'd like to see more neighborhoods with the kind of character that says "We support local agriculture".