Much of the conflict or controversy over the critical areas and other local land use decisions is primarily due to the absence of adequate information. Neither we, the country, or the state authorities have enough information to be able to tell if such proposals will help or not. It is appalling that for 40 years without ever doing the studies needed to make those judgements and decisions, studies of the islands geography, demography and its trends, current land use and trends and other vital subjects that would provide a sound basis for better decision making. Such uninformed decision can have substantial impact on our 15,783 residents, on the owners of 18,854 taxable parcels of land, and the more than $8,006,914,034 we have invested in our homes and land.
The county has done some fragmentary studies like the limited contribution of Dr. Adamus or the current expensively done shoreline inventory, which will be of little help in making decisions on shoreline use. And then there is the beginning of a study of the county economy which has sat untouched and incomplete for five or six years while our leadership forges ahead without ever knowing what our economy is or even if we have an economy.
Some members of the county commission/council or the planning commission may have recognized this need. But while the country has spend money for many laudable but unnecessary programs this need has been ignored. Then we have had members of the commission/council who have not even realized they need such information. That applies to some of the non-governmental advocacy organizations and especially to the state agencies which are pushing us to take certain action without the vaguest idea of the need or the results.
Step one in the decision making cycle taught in every school of public administration, every business school and every course in planning in nearly every school in the world is: Collect your information!
Patrick C. Roe