Thursday, April 06, 2006

Saving Land Saves Money

Republished from a friend:
Did you know that ...

“Saving Land Saves Money”

Without exception, residential land development costs a community more in services, infrastructure, etc., than it does to generate tax revenue – leaders of our municipality can quote numbers that qualify the cost per student, average students per household, tax revenue generated per household, etc., etc. Did you know that the PROGRESSIVE ACTION is for communities, municipalities, cities and entire counties to take land out of development in order to stabilize taxes? Here are just a few things to consider:
Benefits of Municipality purchasing Public Lands:

  • Community purchase of open space removes property from (residential-inspired) tax rolls
  • Surrounding (as far as ½ mi away) – not just abutting – properties increase in value – thereby increasing tax base w/out increasing taxes
  • That increase results in quicker turnover among potential home buyers
  • True, by removing property from tax rolls a small amount of communities’ taxes must be shared by remaining property owners – however in short period of time increase valuation of properties more than compensates the shortfall
  • Tax base is stabilized by lessening impacts and increasing per property value of existing properties
  • Commercial/industrial expansion can increase tax base without same impact as residential development, however be careful – double-edged sword as commercial/industrial development also brings residential growth leading to increased services, traffic, pollution, noise, crime, loss of community character and rural identity

Bottom line: BALANCE residential growth w/ open space preservation w/ commercial/industrial expansion

…and THAT requires proper planning and zoning!

Murrysville needs to ask itself – “Where do we stand right now with open space vs. developed land? Commercial vs. residential vs. open space?” et cetera. I have been told that we are above the desired/mandated acreage of open space per person/household, however, when will we know to quit? Are studies being done? Specifically, FISCAL IMPACT STUDY or Costs of Community Services studies (COCS)? “The goal is not to prevent growth, but to encourage a balance between development and open space which tends to get lost without these types of analyses.”

Murrysville should consider purchasing land or the Purchase of Development Rights or Transfer of Development Rights.

Fantastic files to read, available online, for some food for thought or motivation for smarter planning and decision-making:



addresses better models for dev

addresses conservation easements



Preservation of open land helps control the rapid cost of development. “In recent referenda, both locally and nationwide, voters have overwhelmingly supported public funding to preserve open spaces.” (p. 1, “Saving Land Saves Money”, )

Today, landowners have more options than selling to a developer. Their choices have been broadened by municipal preservation programs such as conservation easements, outright acquisition, purchase of development rights, transfer of development rights, agricultural security areas, .

Pages 1 and 6 of this publication list some of the over 55 counties and towns in New Jersey, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Maine where voters approved park, open space, trail, and farmland preservation measures.


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