Sunday, July 09, 2006

Connecticut Sprawl

Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey Governorship and Bush Admin fame and Parris Glendening from the Maryland Republican political scene weigh in on the sprawl problems in CT.

I think this article is illustrative to how obvious a problem can be and how most people in society simply can not “see it”. They nearly nailed it their opening thought:

Connecticut today looks a lot like Maryland and New Jersey did when we took office in our respective states: a state with a modest endowment of land that is being depleted quickly by rapid, often poorly conceived development.

And then this

Without pretending to be experts on Connecticut, we are willing to bet that much of the misplaced development is aided and abetted, and even subsidized, by state policies and practices, much as they were in our home states.

And then this

It was certainly true in Maryland, where we were funding infrastructure and school construction in areas where neither the locality nor the state had planned for development.

In 1997, Maryland passed a Smart Growth Act. The state began to remove subsidies for sprawl and instead steer funds toward communities that had planned to absorb growth in a smaller, better-planned footprint. Implementing it was hard work, but it is amazing what money can do to focus the mind.

Then it simply went downhill from there. Without being an expert myself on Maryland I am willing to bet the following:

Then we took steps to make it easier to redevelop in existing areas, reclaim industrial brownfields and adapt older buildings for re-use.

Actually means laxing environmental regulations. Which is true in that clean up cost is a problem. However, the authors miss the point. They harp on the government subsidizing and yet the reason why these “browfields” were so toxic to begin with was because the state was subsidizing these firms by failing to tax the rent on these firms.

Even if I am wrong, I am still curious what is meant by “make it easier to redevelop…”. I am fairly certain those buildings and the land they are sitting on is owned by someone. More then likely owned by someone waiting for the government bail them out or “make it easier for redevelopment…” and so we get right back into this subsidizing problem.

There are some other decent items in the article though and it is generally worth reading. However, when reading it try keeping in mind the many things they are missing when they fail to talk about the LVT.

You can send a letter to the editor of the Hartford Courant here:

The Courant
285 Broad St.
Hartford, CT. 06115
fax, 860-520-6941

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