Jun 3, 2011
The Landed Gentry
One of the popular misconceptions in our granola society is that our open space is threatened. Consequently, in addition to welfare and corporate welfare, we now have landed gentry welfare. We purchase land, at almost market value, and even allow the owner to keep it. Although there is a deed restriction prohibiting development, who can guarantee it will be enforced in future generations? In every case I'm personally familiar with, the owner never had any intention of development; In one instance, the owners were compensated over $1million.
In some cases the owners are working farmers, in many, just gentlemen farmers with country homes. An article in Sunday's Morning Call laments the reduction in the farmland preservation funds. Nothing in the land preservation compensation really guarantees continued farming, that would be somewhere between indentured servitude and slavery. In 2006, Pennsylvania spent $102 million in Growing Greener handouts. Although the program has been cut back in recent years, there is a long list of applicants hoping to get some of this handout. The granola eaters should drive across Pennsylvania. There is a lot of open space even in this heavily populated state, over 8 million farm acres. While we close mental hospitals and sell nursing homes, we pay yuppies playing weekend farmer, development rights on land they never intended on subdividing anyway.
reprinted from August 9, 2010