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  •  The Politics of Sprawl (4.00)
    Hmm.. this is an interesting point of view.  There might be some opportunities for bipartisan support on this issue.

    The Politics of Sprawl: Why Republicans are embracing the anti-sprawl agenda

    What I found out was, the cost of their services -- schools, police, fire, water, sewer if they have it -- were substantially higher than they had been. And it's because as their populations have grown, they've had to build a new fire station, a new police station, a new elementary school, and then stock it with teachers and school buses. You put this stuff all together, and the people begin to call out, `We're sick and tired of taxation.'"

    And there lies the basis of a Republican reaction against sprawl that puts the `conserve' in conservative. Building redundant infrastructure costs public money. As Krebs expresses these concerns over coffee, his Greater Ohio colleague, Pat Carey asks, "So how do you keep your Republican credentials?"

    Essential funk: 'Impeach the President' by the Honeydrippers

    by pontechango on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 08:07:58 AM PST

    •  "schools, police, fire, water, sewer" (none)
      In my area in Florida, school buildings are paid for through impact fees.

      "Water" and sewer come with connection fees of several thousand dollars each.

      I live in a volunteer fire district and pay $60 a year for fire service.

      The only thing tax dollars provide to me are police, bus, and library services.

      Most new subdivisions are gated because the law permits developers to build cheaper roads if the roads are private. Most new neighborhoods near me have private guard service.

      The only thing government provides for most new middle class people in my area is schooling for children.

      Since fewer people have children and the increasing tendency in places like Raleigh, NC to bus children for NCLB performance, even the last remaining major government tax supported service [education] is coming under pressure.

      Since government increasingly doesn't provide wanted services for taxes, fewer people want to pay taxes.

    •  Uh, no. (4.00)
      Republicans are embracing "the anti-sprawl agenda" because it raises the value of their houses. It is Econ 101. If the demand goes up while the supply stays the same, the price goes up. That's why anti-sprawl efforts actually cause sprawl. If one jurisdiction constrains development, prices of existing houses (and approved lots) increase. To avoid this, people commute beyond the restricted area to the next county or next state. As the saying goes, "drive until you qualify" (for a mortgage).

      For example, I'm in Montgomery County, MD, a suburb of DC. In a case of a 70s fad run amok, about 1/3 of the county is set aside as an "Agricultural Preserve." (Uh, I thought that's what Nebraska was for.) As a result of the supply-demand imbalance, it is very difficult to find a house for less than $1 Million here. That's great for current homeowners, but a disaster for people trying to break into the market. Inevitably, people respond by going to the next county, Frederick, but Frederick has its own anti-sprawl restrictions and is also becoming very expensive. Where does it lead? A recent headline in the Real Estate section of the Moonie Paper put it best: "Washington's Newest Suburb: Gettysburg, PA."

      •  Not Even Close (4.00)
        1. No new-breed Republicans are embracing any serious anti-sprawl measures, nor are any mainstream Democrats for that matter.  (The main difference between the parties at the local level, where almost all land-use decisions get made, is that the Republicans favor no growth controls while the Dems favor growth "controls" that do not limit overall growth so much as direct it onto the land of big contributors.  They both suck, and one could make an argument that an ideologically pure Republican land-use policy would be better environmentally, though that ain't never going to happen....)

        2. Localized anti-sprawl measures do not meaningfully restrict supply.  In today's America, housing demand is regional: if you are moving to "Sacramento" you are really moving to a region that includes 5-6 counties and dozens of cities and towns.  Restricting the building of new houses in one municipality is a drop in the supply bucket and does nothing to change the overall supply and demand curve.  I have plenty of numbers to back this up, if you'd like them.

        3. To say that "anti-sprawl efforts actually cause sprawl" is childish.  Sprawl is not just growth--its low-density car dependent growth that eats up a large amount of land per person housed.  You can grow at a decent clip without sprawl if you focus on infill and high-density transit-oriented development.  That some nearby backwards municipalities might ignore this imperative and continue destoying land and resources at a faster clip only argues for regional growth controls and anti-sprawl measures.

        4. An Agricultural Reserve is hardly a "70s fad run amok," you ignoramus.  Nebraska can't grow all crops, and it can't grow crops that can be as efficiently transported to DC as those grown in Montgomery.  It also can't catch runoff, filter drinking water, provide habitat for animals, allow for a diversified economic base for Maryland, or serve as a resource hedge against future uncertainty.

        5. Don't like the million dollar houses?  Who does?  Go back 10, 20, and 30 years and look at the average home prices in DC and in several concentric suburbs and exurbs.  You'll see that the price increase as a matter of percentage over that period has been roughly the same, even though the outer rings have seen the most growth on a relative basis.  In my region, the fastest-growing suburbs have also seen the fastest appreciation.  In short, there is little correlation between land-use restrictions and relative housing prices.
        •  Try Again. (none)
          I'll grant you that different states have different systems of local government. Here, the key level of local government is the county and municipal governments, if they exist at all, have limited functions. In other states, cities and towns have the key role in land use policy, and restrictions in one jurisdiction have limited impact on a metropolitan area as a whole.

          Obviously, as you say, housing demand is regional, and the region's supply--or the region itself--will expand to meet that demand. If you squeeze on a baloon in one place it will expand in another. That's why it would have been better to say, "anti-sprawl efforts actually cause leap-frog development". Restricting development closer in will cause that development to occur further out. One way or another, an equilibrium will occur.

          Your comments regarding Agricultural Reserves are asinine. I'm all for useful open space--i.e., parkland, but pretending that a major metropolitan area is rural is just plain nutty. And what would it accomplish? American agriculture produces 40% more than is used for domestic consumption; as agriculture becomes more efficient we simply don't need as much farmland as we used to. I won't even mention the pollution caused by the ag industry.

          Who likes million dollar houses? Duh! Owners of existing houses. When scarcity of any good is artificially created, prices go up. Even Republican homeowners can figure out that buildiing restrictions are in their economic self-interest, regardless of who else is hurt.

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