Land Use

No Crowding + No Sprawl = No Growth

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Maryland is expected to see substantial job growth in the next few years, which apparently is bad news. As The Washington Times explains, more people will create a conflict between local "adequate public facilities ordinances," which discourage development in "areas where schools are crowded or sewage-treatment systems are at capacity," and the state's "smart growth" policy, which aims to prevent sprawl by discouraging development everywhere else.

[Thanks to Robert Stacy McCain for the link.] 

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  1. Cue joe,

    Now.

  2. Mayland’s smart growth policy also works to steer growth towards established areas by providing funding to upgrade and expand infrastructure there.

    This is the sort of conundrum that you can only see if you are looking hard enough to find one.

  3. Jacob, you almost got me – I nearly clicked on the link before I realized it was the Washington Times.

  4. It’s nice to see another state trying out Oregon’s experiment in “growth alternatives.” Oregon won’t be the only state attempting economic sepuku, but I bet they’re better at it!

  5. HA HA HA ROFLMELFAO

  6. Discouraging development where the schools are already crowded? News to me. With Maryland’s soylant growth policies, they can’t throw townhouses up in the remaining greenspaces fast enough. There was a corner not too far from me that they managed to squeeze 8 townhouses into a patch of grass. 8.

    You don’t have to look all that closely to see the roads that are already operating at 100% on most days. How are they going to fund that when there isn’t any place to expand or build new roads or that activists won’t let them build to begin with. Hell, it’s taken 30 years to get one 11-mile highway built and the environmental lefties are still fighting it tooth and nail. Not to mention the number of homwowners being forced out and getting screwed from the length of time the process has dragged on and the re-alignment of the road multiple times.

    You realy don’t have to look all that closely joe. The 17 trailers that were at my kid’s school for almost a decade were very visible until this year, when they finally opened a new school, replacing the old one that the county had torn down years ago.

    Even then, Montgomery County couldn’t help themselves. Instead of just having the kids in the new school’s neighborhood go there, they had to split the existing school’s population, because the racial balance of the population at the new school wasn’t politcally acceptable. k-2 at the new school; 3-5 at the old.

    So, even though I live across the street from the existing school, one of my kids has to get on a bus and schlep a mile down the road to the new school.

    How is that helping to reduce the problems from suburban traffic?

  7. “…when thousands of new jobs come to the state by 2011 with the military’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) plan, he said.”

    The panic may be premature.

  8. Mayland’s smart growth policy also works to steer growth towards established areas by providing funding to upgrade and expand infrastructure there.

    “Mayland.” Love it.

    The infrastructure isn’t underfunded because of lack of tax money. It’s underfunded because the NIMBYs don’t want any more development. I hear it all the time. “If we build better roads/ add more schools/ modernize the sewer system more people will move in and my quality of life will go to hell.”

  9. I like sprawl. It spreads out the congestion instead of concentrating it in the areas the anti-sprawl people want to turn into cities.
    What I don’t like is paying for upgrading the infrastructure to accomodate the new comers who want to free ride on those established residents. If a new development causes the local school to require an addition or the sewage plant to be expanded, then the new comers should pay 100% of the cost of that addition. I think a lot of NIMBY opposition can be traced to this reluctance to subsidize the lifestyle of those buying the huge McMansions.

  10. Maryland (between Baltimore and DC) is getting to the point of saturation, isn’t it? I mean, how much more sprawl can they build before it starts to just fill in the gaps?
    Plus, people won’t move there if they can’t get out of their housing development due to major congestion on the roads. If people want to f’ing live in the country, go buy a farm and work from home. Seriously.

    Now if only their road structure made any sense..

  11. Oh, and aren’t they in the situation in some areas where they are knocking down not-so-dense development to build more dense development (like majorly in Annapolis)? So all the smart growth subsidies are doing are taking taxes from everyone else and giving them to developers who already have profitable projects on their hands. Brilliant.

  12. Maryland (between Baltimore and DC) is getting to the point of saturation, isn’t it?

    Hardly. Drive up Route 29 towards Baltimore and you will see vast tracts of undeveloped land. Little of it farmland, BTW.

    I mean, how much more sprawl can they build before it starts to just fill in the gaps?

    Lots and lots. Sadly, the soylent growthers have spoken the One True Way.

  13. Don’t confuse smart growth, environmentalism, and NIMBYISM. They are three different arguments, and are often at odds with each other.

  14. Three different arguments, same outcome.

  15. No, Art, radically different outcomes. Smart Growthers often advocate development that the other two reject.

  16. Why would an environmentalist reject a “smart” growth intiative? Every “smart” growth issue has always been presented as to how much better for the environment high-density zoning is compared to everything else.

  17. Maryland (between Baltimore and DC) is getting to the point of saturation, isn’t it? I mean, how much more sprawl can they build before it starts to just fill in the gaps?

    Shoot, drive north on 83 or 95…I fly fish a 17 mi long tailwater 30 min north of Baltimore, out in the middle of nowhere. Same with DC. Go 20-30 south of DC and it’s as rural as it gets…….we aren’t running out of room yet.

  18. joe,

    Are you saying environmentalists and NIMBYs are not smart?!

  19. joe’s right. I’m seeing it in my own neighborhood, where the smart growth folks want dense housing near the train station, and the NIMBY’s want to keep our little suburb as it was in 1954.

  20. Should have said “smart growth folks and environmentalists”.

  21. They pretty much lost me at “Maryland is expected to see substantial job growth in the next few years.” Based on what, other than BRAC? Maryland is an anti-business hell, compared to Virginia.

    In any event, with the bursting of the housing bubble and (I believe) a recession on its way, I think growth will be the least of Maryland’s worries.

  22. Why sometimes it’s better not to offer a parting hat tip — I’d be far more inclined to read the piece if you didn’t mention it came “thanks” of a well-established white supremacist.

  23. I became very skeptical about the efficacy of zoning and planning during the 1980s, when I worked as a reporter in Cobb County, Ga. Even casual observation of Cobb County government during those boom years showed that zoning is an insider game. If a big developer wanted to put in a shopping mall, and was willing to throw enough money at the right politicians, the zoning was irrelevant and no amount of citizen outrage was going to stop the project.

    Developers own the zoning boards in most growing communities, and it is only the small property owners who a forced to obey the rules. Jane Doe can’t operate a beauty shop or a daycare from her home, but if a big developer wants to spend millions on a new project, the zoning ordinances aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

    Hypothetically, I accept the possibility that there might be some community in America where zoning is honest and fair, but what I saw in Georgia — e.g., irreplaceable historic sites bulldozed to make way for shopping centers and industrial parks — left me with the lasting impression that zoning is a corrupt scam designed to lend a phony aura of democratic legitimacy to the policy preferences of the power elite.

  24. a well-established white supremacist

    Who, pray tell, has “established” that so well, Mr. X?

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