Cedar Falls Plan Is Not Part of U.N. Agenda, Council Tells Concerned Citizens Group
The city council held a special hearing Wednesday night to discuss a comprehensive plan update that one Cedar Falls group says is part of a United Nations agenda.
A comprehensive plan for the city of Cedar Falls is not part of a United Nations agenda, Mayor Jon Crews told a packed city hall Wednesday night.
The assertion came during a special hearing to consider an update to the city's comprehensive plan. The plan is meant to act as a guide for the town's future development and doesn't set any ordinances or change city law, council members told the crowd.
A group called Cedar Falls Citizens Against the 2020 Plan was at the hearing to oppose many parts of the 201-page document, including sustainability initiatives they said came from the United Nations.
The group's website says Cedar Falls is a dues-paying member of Local Governments for Sustainability, also known as ICLEI.
Most of the 3.5 hour-long city council meeting was dedicated to a debate over zoning and land use in the flood plain portion of the North Cedar neighborhood. Read about that debate here.
According to ICLEI's website, it is an international association of local governments who have made a commitment to sustainable development. The website says the group convened it's inagural meeting at the United Nations in 1990. Cedar Falls is listed as a member city, which is where the Stop 2020's assertion comes from.
Crews acknowledged Cedar Falls used to be a member, but said the city is no longer involved with ICLEI, despite the town's name remaining on the website.
The debate, taken up on the other end of the political spectrum by the Green Party of Black Hawk County, focused largely on whether being part of sustainability initiatives is a good or bad thing.
Some, including Stop the 2020 Plan organizer Judd Saul, argued such intiatives erode property rights and personal liberties.
"I have four kids. I definitely care about their future," he said. "I want them to grow up in a city that’s not riddled with regulations."
He was responding to a statement read by Green Party member Brandon Long, which asserted the Stop 2020 group was anti-children beacuse it didn't put environmental concerns first.
"This is about what Cedar Falls can do to make sure that Cedar Falls grows in a thoughtful manner," said Jim O'Loughlin, Green Party member and Overman Park Neighborhood Representative on the plan's steering committee. "But everything I’ve heard about is property rights. I haven’t heard anything about responsibilities, and that is irresponsible."
Resident Kyle Baker responded.
"I am not against protecting the environment, I am not against the word sustainability," he said. "But there’s a 2020 plan or a 2030 plan or a 2050 plan in darn near every city in America. Where do these plans come from?"
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