What if the Hillside and Ridgetop Protection Plan is actually part of a global plot?
That seems to be the belief of one of the principal critics of the plan, local engineer Gary Norvell. Norvell was on the city-county task force that spent nearly three years putting together the Hillside plan, which was adopted last December by the Metropolitan Planning Commission. But he quit the group as it was completing its work, accusing it of being overly restrictive on hillside development. Since then, he's been one of the most outspoken voices of opposition, and helped write the alternative plan that the Knoxville Chamber introduced last month.
The Chamber's plan generated a long discussion on the KnoxViews website, including a critique by local environmentalist and Metro Pulse columnist Rikki Hall. Norvell, to his credit, actually waded into the generally pro-Hillside Plan waters there to respond. But after warning that the MPC's guidelines will render Knox County "unable to keep up with the demands of its population in the future," he veered off into unexpected territory. To wit:
"I am also very concerned about the strong association the supporters of this plan have with the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, an international global sustainability movement in Bonn, Germany. Even though their efforts seem noble on the outside, the goal of this organization, with the help of the United Nations, is to control every aspect of our individual lives through the local control of water use, fines and taxes for ‘carbon footprints,' and other indefinable concepts."
Can it be true? Is our own MPC working in league with a "movement" in Germany to "control every aspect of our individual lives"?
For what it's worth, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives is an association of 1,220 local governments around the world who share a broadly defined interest in sustainability, environmental protection, and so forth. Knoxville joined in 2007, under the leadership of Mayor Bill Haslam, in order to "take advantage of the resources offered to members, including access to case studies, software and methodologies developed to assist governments working towards greater sustainability at the local level." Or possibly to turn over control of all aspects of our daily lives to some shadowy cabal in Bonn. Hard to say, really. If you happen to pick up on any suspicious German accents over in the MPC offices, be sure to let us know.