Editorial: Suburbs cannot replace woodlands

Sprawl, the rapid growth and outward expansion of a city or development of the area surrounding a city, envelopes many of the environmental problems that plague cities. As builders push the limit of where they can build, precious swamp lands and reserves are compromised.

Definite borders and the preservation of woodlands, swamps and wildlife refuges need to be established and enforced to prevent further overdevelopment.

The point of a suburb is to have a quiet, serene place to live, not a treeless concrete jungle without peace and quiet. Companies vie for land sanctioned for preservation either as a wetland or for wildlife refuge in order to build cheaply and expand the city limits.

In Hernando County, a heated debate continues about the allocation of land protected near U.S. 19 for the construction of a second Wal-Mart Supercenter in a habitat for black bears. Growth, traffic, pollution and development threaten black bears and their homes. Hillsborough wants to expand Tampa’s city limits to the Pasco line. The land allocated in that annex would bring destruction to swamp land and forests. Tampa was ranked eigth in the nation for sprawl this year.

Tampa fights the problem of excessive traffic into and out of its center daily. Also, the downtown area faces near desertion. As more businesses move to the I-75 corridor and residents go north and west, the county subsidized housing costs to attract citizens to the downtown area. Increasing the number of downtown residents and denser living areas will aid in the prevention of sprawl.

Inhibiting overdevelopment helps prevent environmental problems within cities and aids the preservation of woodlands, swamps and habitats for wildlife. City developers need to devise ways to successfully attract residents to the downtown areas and enforce city limits in order prevent further sprawl.