Our Opinion: Seeking quality growth

April 02, 2001

Federal census results released Friday show tremendous growth in Imperial County, and the numbers show no cities in our area are growing faster than Calexico and Imperial.

With growth comes planning issues, and if planning is not done properly, growth can become ugly. We see that at certain places around the Imperial Valley, Mexicali and certainly Los Angeles.

So it is good to hear that Rich Inman, city manager in Calexico, wants to see orderly and planned growth in Calexico and is trying to set up a system that would make that happen. Fortunately, Calexico has not yet been a major victim of the ugly sprawl that has plagued other areas. For the most part, Calexico's growth in recent years has been done with quality and aesthetics in mind. Much of that good fortune may have been pure luck.

What Inman wants to do, and what other cities in the Valley might consider doing if they haven't started, is set up a plan for what the city wants.


Inman will be formulating the growth plan with the city's planning, building and public works officials and bring it before the City Council for adjustment if necessary and approval.

Inman said he wants a regional growth plan for the city that will be proactive instead of reactive. For too long much of the response to growth in the Valley has been reactive, as if we are saying, "Thank God someone wants to come here." The census tells us we can start to be more selective, because business is going to want to come here because this area is burgeoning.

With the plan, developers will be able to find out what Calexico wants and expects and can then build what is wanted where it is wanted. If developers don't come to the city first, the city could go out and seek the development it wants. At least that is the idea.

The plan would coordinate infrastructure development with the growth. Public services such as fire and police protection must grow along with development or a city soon finds itself in a bind. Many of our local cities know that all too well.

The census indicated many cities in the Valley are growing rapidly. Our county is one of the fastest-growing counties in the state, but that growth has not always been quality growth.

Plans such as the one Inman is pushing can help make sure we do have growth that stresses quality.

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