Getting pushed around by developers is not an excuse that will hold up in court. The city’s unwillingness to exercise its authority isn’t the EPA’s problem.
Because developers would rather stall progress, play by their own rules and stack the deck with absurd political caricatures, Norman citizens will pay the price. The fines for noncompliance, the costs associated with cleaning up the developers’ mess, will be passed on to taxpayers. Same old story: Socialize the losses, privatize the gains.
There are consequences to this long-standing, unofficial taboo on curbing sprawl, or even using the word “sprawl.” Norman now has to answer to a federal agency, and there’s a deadline.
Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe the council will be forced to toughen up a bit and take a firmer stand against developers. Maybe the NDC will find out it’s much harder to fight the EPA than it is to buy ambitious politicians and turn the whole process into a travesty.