As local leaders push public funds toward high density housing, residents must look elsewhere for information regarding the long-term plans for the region.
August 4, 2018-As our State and local leaders push forward to create higher density neighborhoods, residents have had little information as to how things will progress. Fortunately, Northwest Indiana is among the last in the nation to push forward dense, urban communities in a suburban area. Throughout the country, legislators have been lured into the transit oriented development game with the promise of increased tax revenue through density. Indianapolis even includes an infographic on their redevelopment website touting the possibility of more revenue for the City by pushing density:
According to the graphic above, a transit oriented development is assessed at $1.63M per acre while a residential neighborhood is assessed at $336,000 per acre. Add in a 3% rate on commercial properties instead of a 1% rate on residential property, and the difference is staggering. Fees for things such as sewer and water are also exponentially higher.
In Austin, TX, residents learned City leaders had nearly made a crucial mistake in planning and potential disaster was only avoided due to a group of residents who were vocal. The error came as a crucial Council vote on CodeNext approached. According to the Austin Texas website, CodeNext was developed in accordance with “Imagine Austin.” Eerily similar to Region Planning, Imagine Austin worked with various regional stakeholders to develop a 2040 Comprehensive Plan for the region. Imagine Austin explains that
“There are multiple regional planning efforts that informed development of Imagine Austin and will be implemented in parallel. These efforts require coordination between the City of Austin, neighboring municipalities, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG), businesses, and organizations going forward.”
Again, similar to the Regional Transformation Plan, residents are not included or are an afterthought in the planning process.
According to Community Not Commodity, City leaders pushed forward with a plan to adapt the City for housing based on a number that was designed for the entire five county area rather than just the City of Austin, Tx.
According to a press release from Community Not Commodity, the projected need for housing in Austin, TX will be 80,000 units over the next ten years. Despite that, the City of Austin incorporated the number 135,000, raised it to 140,000 and doubled it to determine that they should plan for 280,000 units in the next twenty years according to Community Not Commodity.
Community Not Commodity recently sued to stop the plan to rewrite the City Code. The Mayor of Austin recently suggested he would drop the push to rewrite the zoning code and start over:
“Change happens at the speed of trust. As a Council, city staff and community, we must restore trust in a process to
revise our land development code, and that means we need a new and different, clear and concise path that can move
us forward.”(See http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincouncilforum/A1-20180801124322.pdf )
What is important to note with regard to the Slager/Visclosky Regional Transformation Plan is that we will have no information and no say in the decision making process moving forward under recent Indiana Law. Representative Soliday’s House Bill 1374 exempted the RDA from disclosure requirements, public meeting laws and even conflict of interest reporting. We have no way of knowing how many housing units they say we need or they plan to build. Ironically, in Austin and Indianapolis they argue that they need to build housing due to growth and skyrocketing prices; our leaders argue they need to get into the housing market due to declining population.
Letter from Community Not Commodity regarding error in housing projections and CodeNext: