Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Planned "Sprawl"?

For a second this morning I thought the O-D Editors may have finally seen the light:

"We want real growth, not just sprawl. When suburbs spread outward without really growing, municipal services are stretched over a larger area but there's no corresponding growth in the tax base to support the increased costs. And we've all seen retailers simply move from an older shopping complex to a new one leaving empty eyesores behind."

Of course, this is exactly what's occurred in Oneida County over the last 40 years: A shrinking population (encouraged by state and local policies) spread itself over so much acreage that it's become difficult to afford municipal services. New development sprung up in New Hartford, leaving decaying areas behind in Utica. But given the jurisdictional boundaries, Utica took the tax hit and New Hartford got the benefit.

Now older parts of NH will be hit as development spreads up the new "840" into undeveloped parts of NH and ... Whitestown. Is NH afraid of suffering the same fate as Utica? Will it eventually lose tax revenue to Whitestown? Now that it may hit the pocketbooks of the editors, does this underlie their sudden concern for regional planning?

Regardless of the motivation, it's a good recommendation -- better late than never.

But wait! There's more to read ...

... about the 840: "it makes way for development of thousands of acres in rural areas of Whitestown, Westmoreland and Kirkland. . . These communities will need to work in concert if they hope to maximize the growth potential that exists along this new corridor."

I guess they did't get it after all. They will try to "maximize the growth potential" in the hinterland ... while the population continues to decline! ... I guess it does not matter to them that their OWN "Next Step" ZOGBY POLL showed: that the PEOPLE want UTICA to be the region's hub. Any regional planning needs to have that as its focus ... but everyone knows that it will never happen. A regional hub in Utica is obviously not the O-D editors' concern.

See the complete OD editorial at Area needs regional growth plan

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Strikeslip said...

As a post script, here's an example of encouraging sprawl:
State grants to help city of Little Falls expand water service.

While its nice that the state wants to help bring water to the town, the people in the City will pay for it in several ways: (1) in their state taxes (2) in higher water rates to maintain an expanded system (with no population growth) (3) higher city taxes to make up for the people who were able to move into the town.

I'm not for preventing people from moving out of cities, but I think it is wrong when we SUBSIDIZE such moves.

Strikeslip said...

I guess Sprawl is the subject du jour -- Here's a good article from Cutting through the chorus on 'sprawl'

While I somewhat agree with their view that cities often discourage business with red tape and families choose the 'burbs because of the schools, GOVERNMENT really did help by SUBSIDIZING the trend. I noted one example in the comment above. Here's another: The STATE pays over 90% of the cost of busing school children. Where would the suburban districts be if the State did not do this? The CITIES however, got by fine WITHOUT BUSING (until the social engineers took over, that is). The state also pays over 90% of construction of new schools, which encourages putting them up in the middle of nowhere instead of where there are concentrations of people who could to build them.

Government should simply stop "helping out" expansion into undeveloped areas.

Anonymous said...

NYC is long overdue for "sprawl plans," and appears to have little choice but to look west or north despite its elaborate intent to preserve conservation land all around it.

It's possible that all city schools should be removed to the suburbs to help create fine schooling for all and much needed housing.

To do otherwise seems as intentionally discriminatory as the criticism of policies in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina.

Strikeslip said...

Moving city schools to the suburbs would only exacerbate the problems of the city schools. The problem with city schools is that the teaching methods used are not effective - period. Marva Collins had great success in inner city schools in Chicago. Cities are our most efficient arrangement when they are governed properly. Cut off all our gasoline and see who makes out better.