Consensus = Conned Senses / Delphi 

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Consensus - synonyms: Conflict Avoidance, Conflict Resolution, the Delphi Technique.


Consensus Statement      The Delphi Technique. What Is It?


Collaborate - To cooperate, usually willingly, with an enemy nation, especially with an enemy occupying one's country. - The Random House College Dictionary, 1980 Revised Edition, page 263. (Note: Please, consider when you see this word, collaborate, in plans, agency documents, etc., and consider its real meaning.)

"Philosophy is a battle for the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language." - Susan Kocsis (Ludwig Wittgenstein with the change of 'against the bewitchment' to 'for the bewitchment.')

Diversity is a lie. The agenda is rather a lack of diversity, made crystal-clear by the actions and directives of federal agencies and their 'partners.' There is no diversity when thousands of years of human stewardship/dominion worldwide -- complete with the species diversity that humans have assisted/enhanced -- are on a timeline to be herded like so many sheep up a ramp to the the 'urban slaughter' of 'smart growth' and 'high-density housing.' - Julie Smithson 8/3/02

 The Delphi Technique. What Is It?

By Lynn M Stuter

(Note: Those who have experienced the "concensus process" will immediately recognize this technique. Those who have not will benefit from this article.)

While this article is related to education policy development, the technique is used in virtually all federal policy development areas. The Delphi Technique was originally conceived as a way to obtain the opinion of experts without necessarily bringing them together face to face. In recent times, however, it has taken on an all new meaning and purpose. In Educating for the New World Order by B. Eakman, the reader finds reference upon reference for the need to preserve the illusion that there is "lay, or community, participation (in the decision-making process), while lay citizens were, in fact, being squeezed out."

The Delphi Technique is the method being used to squeeze citizens out of the process, effecting a left-wing takeover of the schools. A specialized use of this technique was developed for teachers, the "Alinsky Method." The setting or group is, however, immaterial; the point is that people in groups tend to share a certain knowledge base and display certain identifiable characteristics (known as group dynamics). This allows for a special application of a basic technique. The change agent or facilitator goes through the motions of acting as an organizer, getting each person in the target group to elicit expression of their concerns about a program, project, or policy in question. The facilitator listens attentively, forms "task forces," "urges everyone to make lists," and so on. While s/he is doing this, the facilitator learns something about each member of the target group. S/He identifies the "leaders," the "loud mouths," as well as those who frequently turn sides during the argument the "weak or noncommittal". Suddenly, the amiable facilitator becomes "devil's advocate." S/He dons his professional agitator hat. Using the "divide and conquer" technique, s/he manipulates one group opinion against the other. This is accomplished by manipulating those who are out of step to appear "ridiculous, unknowledgeable, inarticulate, or dogmatic." S/He wants certain members of the group to become angry, thereby forcing tensions to accelerate. The facilitator is well trained in psychological manipulation. S/He is able to predict the reactions of each group member.

Individuals in opposition to the policy or program will be shut out of the group. The method works. It is very effective with parents, teachers, school children, and any community group. The "targets" rarely, if ever, know that they are being manipulated. Or, if they suspect this is happening, do not know how to end the process. The desired result is for group polarization, and for the facilitator to become accepted as a member of the group and group process. S/He will then throw the desired idea on the table and ask for opinions during discussion. Very soon his/her associates from the divided group begin to adopt the idea as if it were their own, and pressure the entire group to accept the proposition. This technique is a very unethical method of achieving consensus on a controversial topic in group settings. It requires well-trained professionals who deliberately escalate tension among group members, pitting one faction against the other, so as to make one viewpoint appear ridiculous so the other becomes "sensible" whether such is warranted or not. The Delphi Technique is based on the Hegelian Principle of achieving Oneness of Mind through a three step process of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. In thesis and antithesis, all present their opinion or views on a given subject, establishing views and opposing views. In synthesis, opposites are brought together to form the new thesis.

All participants are then to accept ownership of the new thesis and support it, changing their own views to align with the new thesis. Through a continual process of evolution, Oneness of Mind will supposedly occur.

The theory of the Delphi and the reality of the Delphi are, obviously, quite different - the reality being that Oneness of Mind does not occur but only the illusion of Oneness of Mind with those who refuse to be Delphi'd being alienated from participating in the process. While proponents of education reform feel they are quite justified in this, the effect of this unethical manipulation of people is to create polarized camps. In an effort to maintain the process, advocates have marketed a plethora of publications (such as What's Left After the Right, No Right Turn and If You Don't, They Will) intended to label, castigate, and alienate anyone who does not go along with them. As a result, parents come to understand that their role in education reform is merely perfunctory; that the outcome is preset, that they are not but the rah-rah team so when opposition does arise, advocates of education reform can say, "we had community input." To make sure that the situation is controlled, only those parents who agree with the process are allowed on the restructuring teams. New participants are carefully screened to ensure that education reform goes forward unquestioned. If measurable opposition persists, advocates are told, get the local ministers on board. Take steps to neutralize, by whatever means necessary, the opposition. In some places, opponents have been harassed, both at home and on the job, personal property has been damaged and vandalized, people have lost their jobs. Anyone who does not go along with the restructuring of our society is susceptible to the totalitarian tactics of those promoting education reform - whether it be parents, teachers, principals, superintendents or board members. The need exists for advocates to maintain an iron grip on the process.

They cannot, for instance, withstand open public debate of the issues. Therefore, they do not partake in public forums. They cannot withstand the criticism, so they close every avenue for parents to address the issues. They are rapidly creating, through their divisive tactics, a volatile situation. America is being torn apart. Parents, citizens, teachers, principals, superintendents who are opposed to the new purpose being given our American education system need tools to withstand the process being used to bring it in - against the Delphi Technique and consensus which, through their basis in the Hegelian Principle, have Marxist connections and purposes. First, no opportunity must be left untaken to expose this unethical, divisive process. Second, when this process is used, it can be disrupted. To do so, however, one must be able to recognize when the Delphi Technique is being used, and how to disrupt it. The Delphi Technique:

How to Disrupt It Ground rules for disrupting the consensus process (Delphi Technique) when facilitators want to steer a group in a specific direction. 1.Always be charming. Smile, be pleasant, be courteous, moderate your voice so as not to come across as belligerent or aggressive. 2.Stay focused. If at all possible, write your question down to help you stay focused. Facilitators, when asked questions they don't want to answer, often digress from the issue raised and try to work the conversation around to where they can make the individual asking the question look foolish, feel foolish, appear belligerent or aggressive. The goal is to put the one asking the question on the defensive. Do not fall for this tactic. Always be charming, thus deflecting any insinuation, innuendo, etc, that may be thrown at you in their attempt to put you on the defensive, but bring them back to the question you asked. If they rephrase your question into an accusatory statement (a favorite tactic) simply state, "that is not what I stated, what asked was (repeat your question)." Stay focused on your question. 3.Be persistent. If putting you on the defensive doesn't work, facilitators often resort to long drawn out dissertations on some off-the-wall and usually unrelated, or vaguely related, subject that drags on for several minutes during which time the crowd or group usually loses focus on the question asked (which is the intent). Let them finish with their dissertation/expose, then nicely, with focus and persistence, state, "but you didn't answer my question. My question was (repeat your question)."

 Remember: always be charming, stay focused and be persistent. Never, under any circumstance, become angry. Anger directed at the facilitator will immediately make the facilitator "the victim." This defeats the purpose which is to make you the victim. The goal of the facilitator is to make those they are facilitating like them, alienating anyone who might pose a threat to the realization of their agenda. [People with fixed belief systems, who know what they believe and stand on what they believe, are obvious threats.] If the participant
becomes the victim, the facilitator loses face and favor with the crowd. This is why crowds are broken up into groups of seven or eight, why objections are written on cards, not voiced aloud where they are open to public discussion and public debate. It's called crowd control. It is always good to have someone else, or two or three others who know the Delphi Technique dispersed through the crowd; who, when the facilitator digresses from the question, will stand up and say nicely, "but you didn't answer that lady's/gentleman's question." The facilitator, even if suspecting you are together, certainly will not want to alienate the crowd by making that accusation. Sometimes it only takes one occurrence of this type for the crowd to figure out what's going on, sometimes it takes more than one. If you have an organized group, meet before the meeting to strategize. Everyone should know their part. Meet after the meeting to analyze what went right, what went wrong and why, and what needs to happen the next time around. Never meet during the meeting. One of the favorite tactics of the facilitator, if the meeting is not going the way he/she wants, if he/she is meeting measurable resistance, is to call a recess. During the recess, the facilitator and his/her "spotters" (people who wander the room during the course of the meeting, watching the crowd) watch the crowd to see who congregates where, especially those who have offered measurable resistance. If the "resistors" congregate in one place, a "spotter" will usually gravitate to that group to "join in the conversation" and will report back to the facilitator. When the meeting resumes, the facilitator will steer clear of those who are "resistors." Do not congregate. Hang loose and work the crowd. Move to where the facilitator or "spotters" are, listen to what they have to say, but do not gravitate to where another member of your team is. This strategy also works in a face to face, one on one, meeting with anyone who has been trained in how to use the Delphi Technique. With thanks to Sandy Vanderberg, Peg Luksik and others.

http://www.freedom21.org


Building Consensus Key to Global Protection in 2002

NAIROBI, Kenya, January 2, 2002 (ENS) - The top United Nations environmental official is calling for a speedy ratification of the Kyoto climate protocol before September.

"It is a new beginning," declared Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN agency responsible for securing a cleaner, healthier and less polluted world.

"I call on nations to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which is at the center of the new agreements, before the World Summit on Sustainable Development," Toepfer said.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, an addition to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 38 industrialized nations have agreed to cut their emissions of six greenhouse gases linked to global warming. Thirty-nine were to have been governed by the original agreement signed in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, but the Bush administration in March, 2001 said that the United States would not ratify the treaty.

The Kyoto Protocol will not take effect until it is ratified by 55 percent of the nations responsible for at least 55 percent of the total carbon dioxide emissions for 1990. They must reduce emissions of carbon dioxide to an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels during the five year period 2008 to 2012.

The emissions of developing nations such as China, India and Brazil will be controlled by subsequent negotiations under the climate treaty.

"The United Nations, and UNEP as one of its key institutions, has many roles and one of these is consensus building among seemingly opposed groups," Toepfer said. "Indeed the need to build agreements, understanding and solidarity is arguably even more vital in this new millennium as globalization of trade brings huge opportunities but also huge threats to nations, communities and cultures."

The coming year will be one of great challenges for the UN agency. In August and September, the crucial World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) is set for Johannesburg, South Africa from August 26 through September 4.

"Here," Toepfer explained, "countries, non-governmental organizations and industry will come together to chart a new course for the environment, for poverty alleviation and for sustainable development."

The delegates will assess humankind's progress towards sustainability in the 10 years since the UN 1992 Earth Summit. This meeting in Rio de Janeiro produced the benchmark Agenda 21, a plan of action for environmental restoration and protection.

The year 2002 is the International Year of Eco-Tourism, and also the International Year of the Mountains - both key issues on the United Nations Environment Programme's busy agenda.

There are many differing opinions on how to deliver a successful outcome from the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. But Toepfer accepts the inevitability of conflicting views. "We are no strangers to controversy and many environmental issues can be characterized by strongly felt, polarized views. 2002 will be no different, he said. "Eco-tourism, for example, can rouse strong passions on both sides. During the year 2001, UNEP claims some progress towards safeguarding the ecological resources of the planet.

In December, UNEP assisted African ministers in drafting a new and visionary declaration on water which will feed into the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The ministers, attending the International Conference on Freshwater in Bonn, Germany, put sanitation and reducing deaths from sewage contaminated water, at the center of their strategy.

An estimated 6,000 people a day, mainly children, die as a result of poor sanitation - the equivalent of a quarter of the population of a big city such as London.

In the past year, UNEP was active in Doha, Qatar, at the World Trade Organization talks in November. For the first time, trade ministers from over 140 countries accepted that globalization of trade and the reduction of trade barriers must take into account environmental issues and the development needs of some of the world's poorer countries.

In Doha, ministers also took some first, critical, steps towards reducing or phasing out so-called "perverse subsidies" in areas such as fisheries. Subsidies mounting to $15 billion a year distort trade, contribute to the decline and in some cases the collapse of fish stocks, and cause broader impacts on the marine environment.

Throughout the past six months, UNEP has organized regional preparatory meetings in the run-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development set for Johannesburg, South Africa from August 26 through September 4. The regional meetings play a key role in crystallizing the views of governments, civil society, industry and other groups as they prepare for the upcoming environmental summit, Toepfer said.

UNEP chalked up a victory for 2001 when last May, nations signed the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. The treaty is expected to lead to the phase out of the so called "Dirty Dozen," chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs) which are linked to a range of adverse impacts on humans and wildlife.

"There have been other notable successes in which UNEP has played its part," said Toepfer. "The successful climate change talks in Bonn, followed up in Marrakech, offer new hope for the planet and for developing countries, on continents like Africa, in particular."

"Industrialized nations have committed themselves to reduce emissions by 2010 by just over five percent," Toepfer explained.

"A variety of mechanisms and funds were also established which will allow industrialized nations to offset emissions at home by planting trees and developing clean and renewable energy projects in the developing world."

UNEP has launched a range of new initiatives which it will be taking forward in the coming year. The Great Apes Survival Project or GRASP is aimed at rescuing humankind's closest relatives from the brink of extinction. Almost $1.5 million has been raised by UNEP and its collaborators, which include key ape wildlife charities, such as Conservation International, the Born Free Foundation and the Ape Alliance.

Missions are under way to ape range states, where experts are evaluating the plight of chimpanzee, bonobo, orangutan and gorilla populations, while working with governments and local communities to devise ape protection and eco tourism projects aimed at saving apes and giving local people livelihoods. One of UNEP's key roles is early warning and assessment. This year the agency held the first General Assembly of the Global International Waters Assessment where the plight of the Black Sea was highlighted.

It is just one of 66 oceans, seas and water bodies being assessed so that action plans can be drawn up to address environmental and economic degradation.

UNEP is also part of an unprecedented, scientific, assessment of the world's wildlife habitats under the banner of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment project.

In May 2002, the organization will publish the third of its ground-breaking Global Environment Outlook reports which will give governments attending the WSSD a clear picture of the state of the world's environment and a range of likely scenarios for the coming decades.

The International Coral Reef Action Network, launched in March and with $10 million from the United Nations Foundation, is developing strategies to conserve and promote sustainable management of reefs around the world.

Toepfer said the awarding of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize to the United Nations and Secretary General Kofi Annan gives him and everyone at UNEP hope for the future. "We at UNEP are proud to be associated with this as the environment was mentioned as one of the reasons why the UN has been awarded this outstanding prize. It also a recognizes that, in this complicated and sometimes difficult world, the UN has never been more relevant and crucial for delivering peace and stability."

Environmental News Service/Environment/
http://www.ens.lycos.com/ens/jan2002/2002L-01-02-01.html

Consensus Statement 

Agriculture and Open Space

GOAL: Promote retention of agriculture and open space as valued land use resources.

BACKGROUND:

The rural open space characteristics and quality of life of the Bitterroot Valley have become major assets and magnets for new development and increasing population. These very assets are now threatened by the impacts of such development and the needs and demands of new residents.

Working ranches and farms in the Valley have been long-standing components of the County’s economy. The true value of these components may be shifting from the production of crops and livestock to the open space and other scenic qualities associated with agriculture.

ISSUES:  There is significant, increasing pressure on agricultural landowners to sell land.

When ranchers and farmers sell some land, resulting fragmentation can have negative impacts. Wildlife corridors, streams and riparian areas, species of special concern, watersheds and other agricultural operations are often threatened or damaged by these impacts.

Many agricultural/open space landowners fear restrictions on their ability to sell portions of their land and on their private property rights.

Constitutional protections against "taking" of private property continue to be a major legal issue and concern throughout the nation.

Low prices for most agricultural commodities have occurred at the same time that demands for residential home sites and subdivisions have skyrocketed. Many farmers and ranchers are "land rich and cash poor" and seek to fund their retirement through sales of their land. In many situations the value of the land on working farms and ranches is the owner's only "retirement program." In almost every case the highest current market value of the land is based on development not agriculture. The ability of the landowner to receive this value is vital to their future.

In many instances neighbors of agricultural/open space lands oppose the development of that land for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the potential loss of the rural agricultural open setting which drew them to the area, the understandable desire to preserve the setting puts them at odds with their neighbor, the agricultural/open space land owner, who may be in the process of developing the land.

It is the planning board’s position that agricultural/open space land will not be reduced in value through regulation without just compensation.

Now the NEW "bottom line" for Valley residents is: How important is open space / agriculture to you, should we preserve it, and are you willing to pay to preserve it?

Possible Opportunities For Protection and Compensation

If we accept the premise that land values cannot be reduced through regulation without just compensation then our challenge becomes one of how to compensate.

In other areas there are a variety of "tools" being used to compensate and protect, such as:
 
The outright purchase of land,

Transferable Development Rights (TDR’S),

Purchase of development rights (PDR’S),

Ag reserve programs.
 
How can we, the residents of Ravalli County raise the necessary funds to ensure this value is protected?

What methods, specifically designated for Agriculture and open space preservation can we use?

Should we attempt to pass a bond, establish a county sales tax?

POLICY OPPORTUNITIES:

Explore feasibility of Open Space/Ag Lands Board and/or other open space acquisition programs.

Responsibility: County Commissioners and County Planning Board, Right to Farm & Ranch Committee, with invited participation by farmer and rancher organizations.
 
Cost: Initial costs should be minimal.

Include commitment to promote the retention and accommodation of agriculture in the Ravalli County Growth Policy.

Responsibility: County Commissioners, County Planning Board, Right to Farm & Ranch Committee.

Cost: Part of ongoing Growth Policy Program.

Continue Commitment to the Right to Farm & Ranch as official County policy.

Responsibility: County Commissioners, County Planner and County Planning Board, Right to Farm & Ranch Committee.

Cost: Minimal administrative cost.

Review and revise regulations as necessary to accommodate agricultural activities compatible with new development.

Responsibility: County Commissioners, County Planner and County Planning Board, Right to Farm & Ranch Committee, Change in County Subdivision regulations.

Cost: Unknown. Small cost to develop regulations, but could be significant for new development since burden of compatibility would be on it.

RAVALLI COUNTY GROWTH POLICY PROGRAM

Consensus Statement

Infrastructure and public services

GOAL: Provide necessary infrastructure and public services to support population growth and new development without undue impacts on the quality, quantity, and cost of such services to current residents and landowners.

BACKGROUND: Ravalli County infrastructure and public services include roads and road maintenance, police and fire protection, public school facilities and education, emergency services, wastewater treatment, community water systems, general government services, etc. We all expect such facilities and services to be available to meet our needs. They are critical to an acceptable quality of life for healthy,  successful communities.

At any point in time, the quantity and quality of such infrastructure and services largely depend on public support for funding of construction, maintenance and operations. The capacity of infrastructure and services often lags behind increasing demand as an area grows in population. This demand, in turn, is a result of more users and, sometimes, a result of rising expectations for more and "better" facilities and services.

This increased demand occurs independently of the ongoing need to replace, upgrade or expand facilities that have reached the end of their useful lives. Accordingly, we must find ways to replace that which we wear out and also build for our future. The challenge is to define pragmatic policy that is feasible, fair and equitable for those who pay the price.

ISSUES: There is a backlog of unmet needs for infrastructure and public services in Ravalli County. 

The dramatic increase in population over the past decade (44 %) has outpaced our ability to build and operate adequate facilities and services. Examples include road paving, water treatment facilities, and additional school capacity.

There are different opinions between long-term residents of Ravalli County and newcomers about adequacy of services and who should provide and/or pay for them.

Many long-timers have lived with levels of service that are less than other parts of the nation. Examples include fire protection, snow plowing of roads, and school classroom size.

Current laws do not provide an effective means of taxing new development to pay for the additional infrastructure and services required to support that development. For example, current Montana law specifically prohibits imposition of impact fees for new schools as a condition of subdivision approval. The need occurs as soon as a house is built, occupied and generates students. The property tax revenue from this house lags behind and usually does not pay the full cost.

The choice of preferred growth patterns has a direct impact on cost of services.

Compact development, close to existing facilities and services, reduces the need for road construction and maintenance and increases the cost-effectiveness of public facilities. Scattered development, or sprawl, can require more construction and maintenance of roads, schools, sewers, and public safety facilities.
 
POLICY OPPORTUNITIES:

1. Include Preferred Land Development Pattern in Ravalli County Growth Policy
(as defined by local communities)

Responsibility: County Commissioners and Montana DEQ.

Cost: Administrative efforts to initiate discussion with DEQ. Subsequent costs to Montana DEQ, with possible support from EPA per existing air quality programs.

Provide density bonus for new cluster development that reduces need for roads and related dust control.

Responsibility: County Commissioners, County Planner, and County Planning Board. Change in County Subdivision Regulations.

Cost: Unknown.

Explore feasibility of development impact fees to support adequate infrastructure and services for new development

Responsibility: County Commissioners, County Planner and County Planning Board. Change in County Subdivision regulations.

Cost: Unknown. Small cost to develop regulations, but could be significant for new development.
 
RAVALLI COUNTY GROWTH POLICY PROGRAM

Consensus Statement

Water Supply

GOAL: To assure an adequate supply of water for all consumptive and non-consumptive uses.

BACKGROUND:

"Water, in any form, is a valued commodity in the Bitterroot Valley. Aside from its obvious uses for agricultural and domestic activities, the County’s water resources play a vital role in the aesthetic, recreational, and environmental values held by many residents. The Bitterroot River, including all the East and West Forks, and its major tributaries should be considered as critical areas." From the Ravalli Republic, 2/12/75.

A quarter of a century later, this statement is significantly more relevant to the future of Ravalli County, as rapid growth has doubled our population.

ISSUES:

New development can affect water quantity due to proliferation of wells in a concentrated area.

Loss of irrigated agricultural land and/or changes in irrigation practices can impact well water levels and water quantity.

Wells may go dry or have to be drilled deeper to maintain an adequate flow.

There is a lack of real data concerning water quantity throughout Ravalli County.

Some aquifer analysis has been done by the U.S. Geological Survey and
published in February of 2000. Also, the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology
is undertaking additional aquifer characterization that is not yet published

Additional stress can be put on existing water supplies due to wells used for
lawns and gardens.

The geographic location of a new subdivision can impact downstream well and/or irrigation water users.

Sometimes, persons unfamiliar with historic water rights may divert water supplies inappropriately.

POLICY OPPORTUNITIES:

Initiate the establishment of a Local Water Control District for appropriate areas within Ravalli County in order to collect and provide meaningful information.
 
Responsibility: Local property owners and County Commissioners.

Cost: Administrative efforts to research and organize, as well as set up an entity, (such as Bitterroot Water Forum) to maintain and manage the database.

Probable approximate annual fee of $6.00 to $10.00 per parcel depending on the size of the District and number of parcels.

Designate an organization such as the Bitterroot Water Forum or County personnel as the official library/data base for all water information in the Valley.

Responsibility: County Commissioners.

Cost: Unknown.

Provide incentives for new development that incorporates a community or central water supply.

Responsibility: County Commissioners, County Sanitarian, County Planner, and County Planning Board.

Cost: Revision to County Subdivision Regulations.

Provide guidelines to assure that wells used for lawns and gardens will not cause undue stress on the existing water supply.

Responsibility: County Commissioners, County Planner and County Planning Board.

Cost: Revision to County Subdivision Regulations and publication of public information.

Require water flow schematics for major subdivision review and approval.

Responsibility: County Commissioners, County Planner and County Planning Board.

Cost: Unknown. Change in County Subdivision regulations.

Small cost to develop regulations, but could be significant for new
development.

RAVALLI COUNTY GROWTH POLICY PROGRAM

Consensus Statement

Water Quality

GOAL: To assure continued high quality of all surface and sub-surface water throughout Ravalli County.

BACKGROUND:

The following quotes are from a February 14, 1975 edition of the Ravalli Republic newspaper: "Water, in any form, is a valued commodity in the Bitter Root. Aside from its obvious uses for agricultural and domestic activities, the County’s water resources play a vital role in the aesthetic, recreational, and environmental values held by many residents. The Bitter Root River, including all the East and West Forks, and its major tributaries should be considered as critical areas."

"The quality of water, the maintenance of stream setback vegetation, and the proximity and intensity of human activity all affect the quality of habitat for fish populations and productivity, migratory birds and many animal species."

"A rapidly growing problem affecting the quality of ground water resources and our surface rivers, is the increasing amounts of human waste entering the ground and the surface water table, through failing or inadequate septic systems."

When this article was written (information from the 1974 Land Use Plan) the population of Ravalli County was 17,900, which is slightly less than half of what it is today.

ISSUES:

There is a lack of real data concerning water quality throughout Ravalli County.

Some aquifer analysis has been done by the U.S. Geological Survey and published in February of 2000. Also, the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology is undertaking additional aquifer characterization that is not yet published.

The proliferation of individual private septic facilities can lead to inadequate treatment levels and contamination of aquifers.

Likewise, the cumulative effects of individual septic systems can result in increasing impacts on groundwater quality.

New development can increase erosion and runoff to streams and rivers.

The main stem of the Bitterroot River is considered an impaired stream by the State of Montana and a significant monitoring effort is needed to identify sources of point and nonpoint pollution.

Reliable water quality for domestic and agricultural uses is the lifeblood of the Valley and protection, as well as enhancement, is an absolute must for all residents.
 
POLICY OPPORTUNITIES:

Initiate the establishment of a Local Water Control District for appropriate areas within Ravalli County in order to collect and provide meaningful information.

Responsibility: Local residents and County Commissioners.

Cost: Administrative efforts to research and organize, as well as set up an entity, (such as Bitterroot Water Forum) to maintain and manage the database.

With a Probable approximate annual fee of $6.00 to $10.00 per parcel, depending on the size of the District and number of parcels.

Designate an organization such as the Bitterroot Water Forum or County personnel as the official library/data base for all water information in the Valley.

Responsibility: County Commissioners.

Cost: Unknown.

Provide density bonus for new development that incorporates multi-user and/or community wastewater treatment systems where municipal sewer facilities are not available. Investigate creative ways to treat waste water (may require legislative changes) such as "gray water" landscape applications.

Responsibility: County Commissioners, County Sanitarian, County Planner, and County Planning Board. Change in County Subdivision Regulations.

Cost: Unknown, but most will be borne by new development.

Reduce development and agricultural impacts on the Bitterroot River. May require larger no build zones, settling ponds, and changes in practices.

Responsibility: County Commissioners, County Planner and County Planning Board. Change in subdivision regulations and other County regulations.

Cost: Unknown.

Require more stringent water quality and quantity data for subdivision review and approval.

Responsibility: County Commissioners, County Planner and County Planning Board. Change in County Subdivision regulations.

Cost: Unknown. Small cost to develop regulations, but could be significant for new development.
 
RAVALLI COUNTY GROWTH POLICY PROGRAM

Consensus Statement

Air Quality

GOAL: Protect air quality.

BACKGROUND:

The Clean Air Act of Montana (75-2-101 MCA) declares public policy "…to achieve and maintain such levels of air quality as will protect human health and safety, and, to the greatest degree practicable, prevent injury to plant and animal life and property, foster the comfort and convenience of the people, promote the economic and social development of this state, and facilitate the enjoyment of the natural attraction of this state. It is also declared that local and regional air pollution control programs are to be supported to the extent practicable as essential instruments for the securing and maintenance of appropriate levels of air quality."

At times the Bitterroot Valley experiences severe winter air inversions and shares climatic characteristics similar to the Missoula Valley. Past air quality monitoring in Ravalli County showed an increase in airborne particulates—especially in winter months.

ISSUES:

There is a lack of real data concerning air quality throughout Ravalli County.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s air quality protection program includes a goal to "operate a network of state and local air monitoring stations," which could provide and maintain a useful data source for Ravalli County. A first step could be the determination of current air quality to identify any pollution levels that require mitigation.

Ravalli County has responsibility for maintenance of over 550 miles of roads. About half of these roads are unpaved. Increased use of such gravel and/or dirt roads generates dust and contributes to particulate air pollution.

As the County continues to grow, the pattern of development will have long-lasting consequences for the Valley's air quality.  If sprawl is allowed to continue, it will become increasingly difficult to control air pollution.
 
POLICY OPPORTUNITIES:

Through discussions with Montana DEQ, support the establishment of local Air Quality Monitoring Stations for appropriate areas within Ravalli County in order to collect and provide meaningful information. When operational, facilitate public access to information by links with County website and other appropriate means.

Responsibility: County Commissioners and Montana DEQ.

Cost: Administrative efforts to initiate discussion with DEQ. Subsequent costs to Montana DEQ, with possible support from EPA per existing air quality programs.

Provide density bonus for new cluster development that reduces need for roads and related dust control.

Responsibility: County Commissioners, County Planner, and County Planning Board. Change in County Subdivision Regulations.

Cost: Unknown.

Adopt County Subdivision Regulation standards that require Dust abatement for new development roads with significant traffic generation (exceeding 100 trips per day).

Responsibility: County Commissioners, County Planner and County Planning Board.

Cost: Unknown, but most will be borne by new development.

Require traffic reports for major subdivision review and approval.

Responsibility: County Commissioners, County Planner and County Planning Board. Change in County Subdivision regulations.

Cost: Unknown. Small cost to develop regulations, but could be significant for new development.

Schedule road paving and/or dust abatement projects based upon traffic counts and available funding. Include in the County’s Capital Improvement Program
(CIP.)

Responsibility: County Commissioners.

Cost: To be determined as part of budget process.

6.  Encourage development close to existing communities so as to reduce dust pollution, auto emissions, and the need to build new roads.

Responsibility:  County Commissioners, County Planner and County Planning Board,  Change in County Subdivision Regulations.

Cost:  Small cost to develop regulations.  
 
RAVALLI COUNTY GROWTH POLICY PROGRAM

Draft Consensus Statement Summary - Open Space & Agriculture

GOAL #1:  Promote open space and retention of agriculture as valued land use resources.

ISSUES:

1. There is significant, increasing pressure on agricultural landowners to sell land.

2. When ranchers and farmers sell some land, resulting fragmentation can have negative impacts.

3. Many agricultural landowners fear restrictions on their ability to sell portions of their land and on their  private property rights.

4. Newcomers to Ravalli County may not be familiar or comfortable with the impacts of farming and ranching operations.

POLICY OPPORTUNITIES:

1. Include commitment to promote the retention and accommodation of agriculture in the Ravalli County Growth Policy.

2. Adopt and maintain “Right to Farm” as official County policy.

3. Review and revise regulations as necessary to accommodate agricultural activities compatible with new development.

4. Explore feasibility of Open Lands Board and/or other open space acquisition programs.

RAVALLI COUNTY GROWTH POLICY PROGRAM

Draft Consensus Statement Summary - Water Quality

GOAL #2: Protect water quality.

ISSUES:

1. There is a lack of real data concerning water quality throughout Ravalli County.

2. The proliferation of individual private septic facilities can lead to inadequate treatment levels and contamination of aquifers.

3. New development can increase erosion and runoff to streams and rivers.

4. Reliable water quality for domestic and agricultural uses is the lifeblood of the Valley and protection, as well as enhancement, is an absolute must for all residents.

POLICY OPPORTUNITIES:

1. Establish a Local Water Control District for appropriate areas in order to collect and provide meaningful information.

2. Designate an organization such as the Bitterroot Water Forum or County personnel as the official library/data base for all water information in the Valley.

3. Provide density bonus for new development that incorporates multi-user and/or community wastewater treatment systems where municipal sewer facilities are not available. Investigate creative ways to treat waste water such as “grey water” landscape applications.

4. Reduce development and agricultural impacts on the Bitterroot River.  May require larger no build zones, settling ponds, and changes in practices.

5. Require more stringent water quality data for subdivision review and approval.   

RAVALLI COUNTY GROWTH POLICY PROGRAM

Draft Consensus Statement Summaries - Water Supply

GOAL #3: Protect water supply.

ISSUES:

1. New development can affect water quantity due to proliferation of wells in a concentrated  area.

2. Loss of irrigated agricultural land and/or changes in irrigation practices can impact well water  levels and water quantity.

3. There is a lack of real data concerning water quality throughout Ravalli County.

4. Additional stress can be put on existing water supplies due to wells used for lawns and  gardens.

5. The geographic location of a new subdivision can impact downstream well and/or irrigation  water users.

6. Sometimes, persons unfamiliar with historic water rights may divert water supplies inappropriately.

POLICY OPPORTUNITIES:

1. Initiate the establishment of a Local Water Control District for appropriate areas within Ravalli County in order to collect and provide meaningful information.

2. Designate an organization such as the Bitterroot Water Forum or County personnel as the official library/data base for all water information in the Valley.

3. Provide incentives for new development that incorporates a community or central water supply.

4. Provide guidelines to assure that wells used for lawns and gardens will not cause undue stress on the existing water supply.

5. Require water flow schematics for major subdivision review and approval.
 
RAVALLI COUNTY GROWTH POLICY PROGRAM

Draft Consensus Summary - Infrastructure and public services

GOAL #4: Provide necessary infrastructure and public services to support population growth and new development without undue impacts on the quality, quantity, and cost of such services to current residents and landowners.

ISSUES:

1. There is a backlog of unmet needs for infrastructure and public services in Ravalli County.

2. The dramatic increase in population over the past decade (44%) has outpaced our ability to build and operate adequate facilities and services.  Examples include road paving, water treatment facilities, and additional school capacity.

3. There are different opinions between long-term residents of Ravalli County and newcomers about adequacy of services and who should provide and/or pay for them.

4. Many long-timers have lived with levels of service that are less than other parts of the nation.  Examples include fire protection, snow plowing of roads, and school classroom size.

5. Current laws do not provide an effective means of taxing new development to pay for the additional infrastructure and services required to support that development.

6. For example, current Montana law specifically prohibits imposition of impact fees for new schools as a condition of subdivision approval. The need occurs as soon as a house is built, occupied and generates students.  The property tax revenue from this house lags behind and usually does not pay the full cost.

7. The choice of preferred growth patterns has a direct impact on cost of services.

8. Compact development, close to existing facilities and services, reduces the need for road construction and maintenance and increases the cost-effectiveness of public facilities. Scattered development, or sprawl, can require more construction and maintenance of roads, schools, sewers, and public safety facilities.

POLICY OPPORTUNITIES:

1. Include Preferred Land Development Pattern (as defined by the local communities) in Ravalli County Growth Policy.

2. Adopt County Subdivision Regulation standards that require paving for all new roads.

3. Provide density bonus for new cluster development that reduces need for new roads and related dust control problems.

4. Explore feasibility of development impact fees to support adequate infrastructure and services for new development.

RAVALLI COUNTY GROWTH POLICY PROGRAM

Draft Consensus Statement Summary- Air Quality

GOAL #5: Protect air quality.

ISSUES:

1. There is a lack of real data concerning air quality throughout Ravalli County.

2. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s air quality protection program includes a goal to “operate a network of state and local air monitoring stations,” which could provide and maintain a useful data source for Ravalli County.  A first step could be the determination of current air quality to identify any pollution levels that require mitigation.

3.  Ravalli County has responsibility for maintenance of over 550 miles of roads.  About half of these roads are unpaved. Increased use of such gravel and/or dirt roads generates dust and contributes to particulate air pollution.

POLICY OPPORTUNITIES:

1. Through discussions with Montana DEQ, support the establishment of a local Air Quality Monitoring Stations for appropriate areas within Ravalli County in order to collect and provide meaningful information. When operational, facilitate public access to information by links with County website and other appropriate means.

2. Provide density bonus for new cluster development that reduces need for roads and related dust control.

3. Adopt County Subdivision Regulation standards that require Dust abatement for new development roads with significant traffic generation (exceeding 100 trips per day).

4. Require traffic reports for major subdivision review and approval.

5. Schedule road paving and/or dust abatement projects based upon traffic counts and available funding. Include in the County’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP).

Ravalli County Planning Board
205 Bedford Courthouse Box 5007
Hamilton, MT 59840
406-375-6379

Harriet Hooper-Gibson, Chairman
hoop@montana.com

http://www.bvchamber.com/planningboard/staff.htm
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