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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Development Trends in County, From Perspective of Residents

June 29, 2003

Re "O.C. Builders Reach Their Final Frontier," June 15:

Having been born and raised in Orange County, I have come to a number of conclusions about life here:

* There is little pride in the beauty of the land or for the wildlife that lives on it.

* Landowners, especially rich ones, usually get their way, and often claim to be working for the common good.

* People would rather participate in over-development's miseries (traffic, pollution, lack of open space, lame public transit, scarce affordable housing) than make what they see as personal sacrifices.

* Phrases like "common sense," "good planning" and "freedom" are often used by those who stand to profit from development.

* Finally, home builders, buyers and city planners generally lack imagination.

In his book "The Great Divorce," C.S. Lewis envisions hell as a suburb stretching from horizon to horizon. If Orange County increasingly resembles the underworld, we can blame ourselves.

Chris Davidson

Seal Beach

*

Los Angeles architect Stefanos Polyzoides condemned as "not viable" the master-planned-community approach that has produced Irvine and Mission Viejo and which has become southern Orange County's prevailing development model. While Polyzoides' theories may be interesting, my experience proves that they are not applicable here.

In 1972, my husband and I came from Los Angeles County to Orange County. We moved from a north-of-Wilshire Santa Monica neighborhood, where piecemeal development resulted in multistory apartment buildings that filled each lot and left no open space where people could gather and no safe place where children could play.

We moved to Mission Viejo, where master-planned development resulted in houses that were affordable; yards kids could play in; schools, churches and parks we could walk to; and open spaces we could enjoy. We don't need Polyzoides to tell us which development model works.

Sherri M. Butterfield

Mission Viejo

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