growth and development documentary

Brent Finnegan -- September 18th, 2007

Just spotted this on the Arts Council blog (via hburgblogs).

A local documentary called “Changing Landscapes: Growth and Development in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County” is playing at the Court Square Theater this Thursday, September 20th at 8:00 pm. The film was produced by recent JMU grad Nicole Martorana. A question and answer session with filmmaker and a panel of those interviewed will follow the film viewing. It’s free and open to the public.

8 Responses to “growth and development documentary”

  1. Emmy says:

    That sounds interesting. Thanks Finnegan.

  2. chrisfb says:

    people should definitely check this out. i’m gonna try my best to be there.

  3. finnegan says:

    A while back, Josh drew my attention to a documentary called Ourtown. You can watch the QT trailer here. The basic premise is that Wal-Mart wanted to build a supercenter in a small town in Maine called Damariscotta. People in the town organized in opposition.

    I’d love to see some real discussion/debate on whether or not development decisions are entirely iat the sole discretion of the land owners and developers, or does the community as a whole have a say in what happens to their town. I haven’t seen Ourtown, but I’m guessing that’s what it’s about.

    Also taking place tomorrow — for those not interested in the doc — Mark Obenshain’s challenger, Maxine Roles, will be speaking at a RCDC Town Hall Meeting at the RoCo Admin Center (just off Gay, Liberty, and Mason Streets) at 7pm.

  4. Thanh says:

    This article was on the front page of the DNR today about this documentary – http://www.dnronline.com/news_details.php?AID=12317&CHID=1 – I’m looking forward to seeing it tonight.

  5. Bubby says:

    A struggle with Walmart is ongoing in Blacksburg. A citizens group calling themselves Blacksburg United for Responsible Growth (BURG) has been battling a developer to prevent the placement of a Walmart Supercenter in the south end of town.

    In this case the developer originally proposed a mixed use, residential / commercial complex in the last large commercial zoned property in town. A concept not unlike the Preston Lake thing going on in Massenetta Springs. Then Walwart showed interest and the developer went that direction. With a smart growth majority on town council a size restriction was placed on store size (80,000 sf) and the lawsuits started.

    The BURG people are tenacious and it’s anyones guess which way this thing will go. They have assembled some statistics and studies in support of their cause – documenting the costs and impacts of Walmart coming to town. You can read more here:
    http://www.bburg.org/mission.html

  6. Baltimore girl says:

    Something like that happened in a county in southern Maryland. The county council changed the store size (sf) thinking Walmart would back out. Walmart came back and wanted to put two stores side by side with a sidewalk between them.
    On the Eastern Shore of Maryland Walmart wanted to put a store in a town of 500 people, the roads couldn’t handle that kind of traffic. The County went after Walmart and Walmart lost.
    The problem I find in this area is that you don’t have many places to shop. I am sure the area has grown, but being from Baltimore you can make the choice not to step foot in a Walmart and can go many other places. With Martin’s opening that gives us another choice.

  7. Thanh says:

    I went to watch the documentary yesterday. It was wonderfully put together. However, because I come from a tree hugger background, I would have liked to have seen some discussion on how growth and development has impacts on the environment – and to follow up, it would have been nice to see some discussion in the documentary on how planned growth and development can limit impacts on the environment.

    The discussion following the documentary (Q&A) was facilitated by Nicole and featured on the panel a former City Planner, a current City Planning Commissioner, (sorry I don’t remember their names), Eddie Bumbaugh from Downtown Rennissance, and a JMU alum who is still living here. Part way through the Q&A, Billy Vaughn Director of Planning at the County who was sitting in the audience was invited to come join the panel.

    They all shared some very interesting perspectives and thoughts. As did the audience. I thought the disussion was very good . There were definately some people who were definately not happy with how things are developing, others who wanted to halt development all together and sounded like they wanted to stop people from moving to Harrisonburg all together, some who said that development can be done in a good way, others who shared information on how historic neighborhoods and family farms can be preserved (historic district designation or conservation easements, etc), and others who suggested that citizens should become more involved in the entire process (as opposed to just coming to one meeting when there is a problem). City and County officials informed everyone that information on sites and development including correspondances between localities and developers are public information and anyone is welcome to stop by their offices to see them.

    Anyway, Nicole said that she hopes to make copies of the documentary as well as the recording of the Q&A available at the public library. And she will also be showing the documentary on JMU campus – at which she hopes a JMU official will be able to sit on the panel (none were able to attend the showing yesterday).

    Anyway, great job!

  8. finnegan says:

    Wish I could have made it to this screening. Thanks for the review, Thanh.

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