Is ‘smart growth’ a U.N. conspiracy?
group in Currituck County that has expressed suspicions about the
motives behind terms like “smart growth” and “green projects” said it
is not giving up despite the county’s recent approval of a long-term
By CATHERINE KOZAK
Coastal Review Online
me, it has definite ties to UN Agenda 21 because it allows
public-private partnerships,” Jill Rolfes, one of the founders of
Currituck County Citizens Against UN Agenda 21, said about the Unified
Development Ordinance (UDO) that the county Board of Commissioners
passed unanimously last week. “Community good is put over the loss of a
person’s private property.”
said that the county excluded public input in the final draft that she
said was only out for one week. She also said that the planning board
was dictating the choices available to them, rather than following the
public’s lead on what is right for the county.
should’ve had a fair chance to look at it, and we didn’t,” she said.
“The UDO hands 13 processes over to the planning board, which means
that our citizens are no longer telling our public officials what
should be done. The planning board is telling them what should be
County officials counter that the ordinance was the subject of 50 public meetings over two years.
to the American Planning Association, UN Agenda 21 is a non-binding
plan that was drafted in 1992 during the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development. With the involvement of 178 governments,
the plan, the association said, supports sustainable and responsible
policies on settlement, poverty, and the environment.
in the 20 years since the report was issued, a number of groups, and
increasingly, those with conservative political affiliations, have
viewed the report in a more sinister light. They see it as a threat to
private property rights, down to ownership of vehicles and farms. And,
they say, it would also restrict free choice on travel, among other
restrictions. Agenda 21 opponents regard the policies the report
promotes to be attainable through redistribution of wealth and by
diminishment of national sovereignty in the interest of social justice.
March article in Salon magazine said the roots of Agenda 21 conspiracy
theories go back to 2002, when California physician Dr. Stanley
Monteith, who runs the conservative Christian website Radio Liberty,
lectured on the dangers of Agenda 21. Conspiracy embers were fanned
over the years by numerous ad-hoc groups, conservative media and
individuals, but the issue took off, Salon said, when Glenn Beck
devoted an entire show on Fox News to the UN initiative in July, 2011.
development is just a really nice way of saying centralized control
over all of human life on Planet Earth,” Glenn said, according to
Salon. “Whenever you start unraveling this, it is like an onion . . .
its real intentions are being masked with environmental issues.”
Republican National Committee passed a resolution in January declaring
that Agenda 21 conspires to deceive -- reminiscent of the
similar-sounding “Area 51,” a secret military base proported to be
associated with government deception about alien landings in New
Mexico. The UN report, the RNC said, is “a comprehensive plan of
extreme environmentalism, social engineering, and global political
control” initiated at a UN conference held in Brazil 20 years ago.
committee concluded that all levels of government “be well-informed of
the underlying harmful implications of implementation of United Nations
Agenda 21 destructive strategies for ‘sustainable development’ “and
rejected its “radical policies” and any of its associated grant monies.
Woody, county planning and community development director, said that
Currituck’s UDO, which was last updated in 1989, is “a very
locally-driven document” based on the 2006 land use plan that is
focused on the county’s development. He said a technical advisory group
of citizens and professionals helped balance the rewrite process, which
took about two years and 50 meetings.
goal had nothing to do with Agenda 21 whatsoever,” he said. “In my
opinion as county staff, I understand what their concerns are with
Agenda 21. But to me what they haven’t done is demonstrate how that
comes through in the Unified Development Ordinance we’ve been working
“I don’t think that exists because there’s not that connection.”
said that, in part, the approved document included revisions on
architectural standards, parking requirements and landscaping. It also
focused on ways to improve the appearance of the U.S. 168/158 corridor
through the county.
not saying it’s a perfect document,” he said. “But I’m very pleased
with it. I think it reflects our adopted land use plan and I think it
reflects the values of the community.”
said the 200-member regional citizens group opposed to Agenda 21 has
not given up the fight. The next step, she said, is to find candidates
to oppose the all-Republican Currituck board that approved the UDO. One
member, Toni Tabb, has already stepped up to the plate.
Rolfes said that the anti-Agenda 21 effort is non-partisan, she said
that “typically, the Tea Party candidates and conservative Republicans
know more about it.”
ended up happening was they never really took any of our concerns
seriously,” she said about the county officials. “They were so on guard
and so aggressive. It was just shocking.”
Neighboring Dare County, on the other hand, approved a resolution in February opposing Agenda 21.
to the table by Republican commissioner Jack Shea, the Dare County
Board of Commissioners voted to approve the resolution based on Dare’s
sensitivity to being dominated by big government regulations, said
board chairman Warren Judge, a Democrat.
parts of Agenda 21 that flies in the face of issues we deal with all
the time, like access to beaches, access to fishing,” he said. “The
government that governs best is at the local level.”
is just fed up with government bodies making one rule after another
that affects the county, Judge said, and it just seemed appropriate to
react negatively to any more strictures that may be in Agenda 21.
feel like we don’t have to be dictated to by the UN,” he said, “or by
Congress in Washington, or by the legislature in Raleigh.”
and Gaston counties also recently passed similar resolutions. In
February, the Wake County Board of Commissioners rejected much of a
task force report on growth, saying it reflected Agenda 21-style
collectivism. The board had commissioned a 65-member sustainability
task force in 2010 to create the report.
Lawson, a Republican candidate for the state House of Representatives
District 6, also opposes Agenda 21. In a recent letter to the editor,
Lawson said that Agenda 21 works “through insidious stealth” to promote
such concepts as the common good and the elevation of teamwork over
that the end goal of Agenda 21,” she wrote, “is to create a
one-world-government led by an elitist class of overlords.”
story is provided courtesy of Coastal Review Online, the coastal news
and features service of the N.C. Coastal Federation. You can read other
stories about the N.C. coast at www.nccoast.org.)