Lots of Talk, But Little Dialog

We can all agree that the recent, unlamented passing of the special General Assembly session on transportation was an exercise in futility. We might see a few minor bills coming out of the session, but nothing resembling a grand compromise that would ensure adequate transportation funding for years to come.

Clearly, there was no consensus on how to approach the problem. And one reason there was no consensus, reports the Washington Post, is that the feuding parties weren’t talking to one another. No one, it appears, was even trying to build a consensus. Here’s my favorite anecdote from the article by Tim Craig and Anita Kumar:

Kaine and Howell talk, but rarely in detail about transportation.

Last month, when Kaine was asked about transportation, he told reporters he had just met with the speaker.

But when Howell was asked about the meeting, he said the two sat next to each other at a dinner. “We have had very cordial talks,” Howell said. “He is a nice guy to talk to, but I don’t think we talked about transportation. I asked him about” presidential candidate Barack Obama.

There have been few substantive discussions since the different sides staked out their positions four months ago. Kaine did call at least two meetings between House and Senate leaders of both parties shortly after the Supreme Court ruling that invalidated the regional transportation authorities but could not broker a compromise. A handful of legislators have met behind closed doors or chatted on the phone over the past several weeks, Craig and Kumar report, but they have not found common ground.

The failure to start a dialog doesn’t apply to the politicians only. The environmentalist/ conservation community and significant elements of the fiscal conservative/free market camp offer very similar critiques of the contribution of transportation policy to Virginia’s dysfunctional human settlement patterns. Other than stray personal encounters, however, there is virtually no conversation between the two groups — or, seemingly, any interest in even starting such a conversation.

Jim Noland and Olympia Meola with the Times-Dispatch suggested today that a comprehensive transportation solution may have to wait until the next gubernatorial administration. Their article explores the transportation remedies proposed by the three leading contenders to succeed Kaine — Attorney General Bob McDonnell, a Republican; Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath; and Del. Brian J. Moran, D-Alexandria.

But none of the three candidates have proposed anything more than microwaved leftovers from the past failed session. Unless someone, somewhere, somehow, starts a sustained dialog between the diverse and warring constituencies in search of some common ground, Virginia will be no closer to a transportation solution two years from now than it is today.


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Comments

  1. Personally, I’m quite happy that nothing will be done. The last time the General Assembly got together in agreement with Kaine to “do something” was a disaster.

    Better nothing than yet another unconstitutional grab bag of Abuser Fees and other taxes that faux conservatives and ersatz free marketers embraced by pretending that calling them “fees” somehow makes them not taxes. The shame is that anti-growth forces win either way.

  2. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Nothing good will happen with transportation until Virginia’s so-called political leadership abolishes the state religion — Developer Worship. While the Anglican Church is no longer the established church in Virginia, it has been replaced by the Church of the Big Developer.

    It’s well past time for the separation of church and state — at all levels. Case in point, Dulles Rail is trouble from a cost standpoint. So instead of eliminating one station in Tysons Corner, MWAA is building four on the cheap. The walkways to the stations will not be enclosed. But rather, they will be covered in wire. Tysons — the model urban center will see rail passengers buffeted by rain, snow and dust as they walk to trains. Why? To preserve massive FAR increases for more landowners.

    Transportation or the slavish distortion of public policy to enrich some landowners? Does anyone believe that other transportation decisions are made differently?

    TMT

  3. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    This is why I think new roads will be toll roads.

    If a region says that a new road is badly needed – forget about “help” from the GA.

    I’m not clear whether the lack of agreement is along the lines of rural/urban explicitly, but the strength of the feelings about it are reflected in the use of the word “balkanization” which can be interpreted as an attitude that it is NOT in the best interests to have regions looking after their own needs.

    Further NoVa and HR/TW themselves do not have similar Regional philosophies – very different, in fact.

    I do not see the open hostility to the NoVa TA and MPO that is clearly evident in HR/TW.

    NoVa clearly wants to be able to decide it’s own destiny and break free of Richmond rule be it the GA or VDOT while HR/TW, if one believes the bloggers in BR clearly trust VDOT much more than their own elected officials making regional decisions.

    But, I think it would also be a mistake to think Virginia is unique with regard to the upheaval over transportation issues.

    In New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, and a couple dozen other states – great upheaval about how to “do” transportation in an era of more flat (than greatly increased) funding ..and future revenues that will probably trend downward as gasoline heads to $5 and above and folks start cutting their use of gasoline.

    I don’t think, in Virginia, waiting for another Governor means anything in terms of another KIND of governor being needed to break the logjam.

    What kind of Gov would that be that Kaine has not been?

    I would support one thing the fiscal conservatives are asking for and that is a short, but relevant comparison of VDOT with other states on the issue of maintenance costs.

    IF.. such a comparison indicates higher costs in Virginia, then I would support a full blown audit but in the end – what does this solve other than the fact that pinching pennies might help stench the erosion of the HMOF fund –

    and I would support indexing.

    between those two things – we might be able to staunch the erosion of maintenance funding.

    but there is very obviously no agreement on how to fund new roads – and to be honest – if we are headed to $7 gasoline – the question of “need” is certainly going to be a far different proposition than “need” determined with $3 a gallon gasoline.

    re: TMT’s comment on the perception that developers have a role in transportation decisions

    yes – it is corrosive of the public trust…

  4. Rodger Provo Avatar
    Rodger Provo

    To All –

    The politics of this issue is such
    that we need a study group to be
    formed representing a cross section
    of Virginias to help us put in play
    a program to better deal with our
    planning and transportation issues.

    Such a group played a key role in
    helping the state pass a major,
    landmark transportation package in 1986.

    We need to rethink our planning
    districts, MPOs and state agency
    involvement in this process.

  5. Rodger Provo Avatar
    Rodger Provo

    To All –

    Sorry about the typo …”of
    Virginias to help” should have
    read … “of Virginians to help”

  6. Rodger Provo Avatar
    Rodger Provo

    To All –

    Sorry about the typo …”of
    Virginias to help” should have
    read … “of Virginians to help”

  7. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Larry- The reason foundation did a comparison of all 50 DOTs. VDOT did pretty well – 18th overall so there is obviously room for improvement but it is not a bad ranking. The adminstrative disbursements per state controlled mile – VDOT is the 7th lowest.

    The report can be found at http://www.reason.org/ps360.pdf.

  8. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    While transportation funding is anemic and the issue has the Assembly in gridlock, Dominion rolls happily forward with an 18 percent fuel factor rate hike that has the same basic underlying cause as what is killing the transportation budget — higher energy costs.

    The fuel factor rate hike was approved by the same General Assembly that cannot even approach consensus on transportation. And the Assembly created fat incentives for the power companies to build new generating facilities.

    Is it simply because Dominion is investor owned? Well, the millions of dollars in campaign contributions help, too. But mainly it is the way that the Assembly seems to be insulated from any downside of Dominion’s actions. Is anybody out there sweating a campaign brochure on power bills the same way they obviously fear a brochure on a gas tax hike?

    Let’s fully privatize the whole system, let a private company own and build the entire network, charge and collect all the taxes and fees — and appoint the SCC to oversee the whole process. Hamilton is a piker — why sell the HRBT when you could sell all 60,000 miles and all ten thousand bridges? Create a regulated monopoly and get the politics out (and hope the SCC can keep the greed and incompentence in check…) Frankly I would NOT sell it to the Aussies but would set up a stock plan where Virginians got the initial issue but then could buy and sell it on the open market.

  9. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    The church of the big developer is the result of having put all the little developers out of business. no small deeloper can survivve sll the requirements.

    If you expect developers to give away the store in exchange for being allowed to do business, then you have to expect big developers.

    I have a contractor friend who recently shut down his family business, after 58 years.

    RH

  10. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Larry, gas taxes are a small part of the transportation revenue picture.

    If we actaully do travel that much less, congestion problems will solve themselves, along with the need for new roads.

    All we are left with is maintenance, and we can save a lot of money by nont maintainig roads in F’burg. Nobody drives much there anyway.

    .

    RH

  11. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    thanks anon 5:44 I do remember seeing this once before..

    Table 6: Maintenance Disbursements per State-Controlled Mile (page 12)

    27 Virginia $18,282
    Mean $19,615

    hmmm.. strike one for the “let’s audit VDOTers”

    would be nice if the pro-audit folk could offer some basic data that shows why they think it is a problem…. Someone ought to tell Howell about the Reason Foundation since I recall him saying that the House did not have the “resources” of the Governor to “look into” VDOT’s numbers.

    that might have washed in pre-internet days…

    anon 6:21

    assuming the HMOF will stumble it’s way to some sort of solution…

    what’s on the table – is how to finance new roads – assuming that we are even going to need many if we are going to be dealing with $7 a gallon gasoline.

    People obviously don’t want to pay higher taxes …especially at this point of economic distress so I’m thinking what Kaine had to do – was put something on the table.

    Pro-forma even if it is rejected summarily out of hand. To not do so would have been not responsible.

    Due Dilgence and all that rot.

    He also made it quite clear that he has no emotional attachments to his proposal – only that it would be a good thing to deal with the HMOF issue and at the least, acknowledge that NoVa and HR/TW have made known that they have needs.

    RoVa and the Republicans can walk away – but in doing so – they are going to further convince most of the folks in the blue-leaning parts of the State that as a party they are increasingly AWOL from leadership duties

    and more.. that the urbanizing areas of Virginia are on their own when it comes to transportation, RoVA is not inclined to lift a finger…

    one more census – and it will be official anyhow…

  12. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    “If we actaully do travel that much less, congestion problems will solve themselves, along with the need for new roads.”

    You nailed it…..

    I believe economists (some anyway) call it “Demand Destruction”.

    In this country we can deal with high energy prices by changing our lives….driving less, car pooling, taking the bus, etc., at least for a little while.

    The scary thing is, what happens when we do those things and the high energy prices remain….or go higher even after we have changed our lives??

    There’s not enough room in NOVA for all of us…..

    Scary to think about.

    -CS

  13. Tyler Craddock Avatar
    Tyler Craddock

    Frankly, I am tired of all of the rhetoric beating up “the developers.” These folks should put their words and deeds into alignment, and move out of their homes and into a nest, tent or cave somewhere. After all, their homes were built by the builders and developers they attack. Thus, it would seem that for these folks to keep living in their product would be hypocritical.

  14. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Headline:

    “Poll: Build roads and rail without taxes, tolls”

    The grandly named Texas Lyceum, a Dallas-based nonprofit leadership group, asked 1,000 Texans about 30 questions on getting around.

    Oh, yes, Texans said, by healthy margins. Give us more of all of that, particularly because, according to 84 percent of those polled, “reducing traffic congestion” is either very important or somewhat important.

    OK. Money’s a bit tight these days. Should we raise the state’s 20-cents-a-gallon gas tax to pay for those things?

    Heck no, a thumping 72 percent said.

    Well, how about toll roads then? Nope. Even for completely new roads, like Texas 130, 66 percent said they weren’t interested. For existing highways, 69 percent said no.

    “So, to sum up, build us more transportation stuff, all kinds of it , but don’t charge us for it. This will no doubt be a dose of courage when the Texas Legislature gets together in January and begins to toss around options. “

    http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/06/30/0630wear.html

    hmmm.. sounds familiar…

  15. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: …”what happens when we do those things and the high energy prices remain….or go higher even after we have changed our lives?? “

    Welcome to Europe.

  16. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Tyler nailed it. We want what we want, and we don’t want anyone else to have it.

    Sounds like a recurring theme on the nature channel, or watching the hummingbirds at the feeder: they spend more time driving each other away than they do feeding.

    RH

  17. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Welcome to Europe.

    Goodee. Six weeks of vacation.

    So we can go visit the countryside we saved.

    RH

  18. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “Frankly, I am tired of all of the rhetoric beating up “the developers.”

    Tyler – I think you should form a new group called: “Car dealers are our Friends” and establish chapters all across Virginia where we can all go to show our gratitude and support for those wonderful folks that provide us with cars.

    After all.. without car dealers – we’d have no cars and would all be taking public transit.

    πŸ™‚

  19. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    In a lot of communities developers represent 25% of the payroll – the biggest group other than government. After we wipe out the car dealers, and all the car service agencies, rental cars, etc. everything should be hunky- dory.

    We’ll all be walking – from the homeless shelters to the welfare office.

    RH

  20. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    We’re not talking about not having development or cars or the employment that derives from them

    but we are saying that customers get to decide what kinds….

    I know – this is such an odd concept for folks that believe it works the other way around…

    tolerance RH.. tolerance.. try to see the other side no matter how hard…

    πŸ™‚

  21. Tyler Craddock Avatar
    Tyler Craddock

    Tyler – I think you should form a new group called: “Car dealers are our Friends” and establish chapters all across Virginia where we can all go to show our gratitude and support for those wonderful folks that provide us with cars.

    Fine by me. They are certainly not the enemy. So, that makes them a friend in my book.

    Maybe while I am out founding groups, I can also start one called “NIMBYs Are The Enemy” so that folks can show the NIMBYs the proper “gratitude” for all they have done for –pardon me– TO the American Dream of homeownership. πŸ™‚

  22. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    geeze Louise Tyler –

    I keep telling you…

    the guy that is out developing the dooda out of some land deal…

    she goes home and becomes part of a group trying to shut down a powerline or road or mix-use project.

    right?

    Ray knows this. All those Piedmont do-gooder guys .. they go make their money developing land in Fairfax/Loudon and then come home and tell Ray to go fish.. with his land…

    πŸ™‚

    and one of the biggest opponents of a local road proposal a few years back was – guess who? a developer who had just closed on a 1000 acre land deal..

    he actually gave money to the NIMBY group that fought the project – quietly of course…

    So NIMBY’s come in all stripes and colors .. and they change them too!

  23. Groveton Avatar
    Groveton

    I am declaring this to be the wittiest / best written thread in the past 12 months. A few samples:

    “Better nothing than yet another unconstitutional grab bag of Abuser Fees and other taxes that faux conservatives and ersatz free marketers embraced by pretending that calling them “fees” somehow makes them not taxes.” -Bob

    “While the Anglican Church is no longer the established church in Virginia, it has been replaced by the Church of the Big Developer.”. -TMT

    “While transportation funding is anemic and the issue has the Assembly in gridlock, Dominion rolls happily forward with an 18 percent fuel factor rate hike that has the same basic underlying cause as what is killing the transportation budget — higher energy costs.”. -Anon 6:21

    “one more census – and it will be official anyhow…”. -Larry Gross

    “We’ll all be walking – from the homeless shelters to the welfare office.”. -RH

    “Maybe while I am out founding groups, I can also start one called “NIMBYs Are The Enemy” so that folks can show the NIMBYs the proper “gratitude” for all they have done for –pardon me– TO the American Dream of homeownership.”. -Tyler Craddock

    Man … that’s some good stuff.

    Hey Bacon – thanks for keeping this site up and running.

  24. Tyler Craddock Avatar
    Tyler Craddock

    Larry — So?

    Just because NIMBYs may come in different shapes and sizes (including a few anecdotal developers) doesn’t change my belief that their policies are anti-housing.

  25. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Tyler – there is more than enough hypocrisy for everyone to have super-sized portions – agree.

    But I do think that most folks do not consciously opposed others the same ability to find a place.

    and I don’t think they can be outflanked as long as we have elective government.

    In the end – “just say no” will be the result of policies to force acceptance of degraded LOS and quality-of-life.

    Developers should support LOS standards.

    People are not expecting HIGHER LOS and they will even accept some degradation but what they won’t accept is relentless, unchecked lowering of LOS.

    so ..in the longer run.. we need policies that deal with this .. or the NIMBY’s will grow in numbers and shut down more and more growth if it is perceived as a zero sum loss.

    I’ve seen this.

    I’ve seen developers meet with existing residents and I’ve seen some messy back & forth but I’ve also seen – after some earnest discussions – some acceptance.

    For instance, a new community center that serves both new and existing residents…

    a new day care center… a commuter lot, a new bus stop…, perhaps a new connector road, a new traffic signal, a left turn lane.. there are LOTS of ways to sweeten the deal… if the developer is willing to meet and greet, listen and do.

    what is the kiss of death for any development is the developer showing up in a suit with lawyers in tow, claiming that his plan is “legal” and meets the requirements.

    Developers have got to sell a project to the existing community and I’ve seen it done.. successfully even though it added traffic to already overloaded roads…

  26. Tyler Craddock Avatar
    Tyler Craddock

    Larry — I guess that is the difference between you and me. You seem to blame development for lowered levels of service; I blame politicians who do not first use the revenues from growth to address the infrastructure needs of new development. You seem to see nothing wrong with slapping new residents with extra taxation in the form of proffer taxes and impact fees while existing residents are not asked or expected to make a similar contribution even though they have the same impact on infrastructure; in contrast, I think that is one of the greatest hypocrisies of NIMBYism.

  27. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Thank you Tyler: I think that was well said. Existing residents do have the same impact on infrastructure. Larry won’t believe that because he is focussed on preventing change, not recognizing that it is incremental and temporal. It is easy to think that hande is ONLY the result of the new guys, even when we instigatedit long ago.

    RH

  28. jack be nimble Avatar
    jack be nimble

    I have been reading all the arguments and I believe that attacking any industry is bad for all business and tax paying citizens in the state.

    The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the politicians of both parties. In regards to road funding we do not have a funding problem we have a priority problem. Is it asking too much of our politicians to fund the areas of need first then whatever is left can be divided among their pet projects.

    Unfortunately I see no one in either party that has the backbone to stand up and do what is correct.

  29. Charmin Avatar
    Charmin

    The real cause of our road problems is pregnant women and the potential children that they have jamming our schools, then driving more cars and then god forbid buying a home in the suburbs and having more children……..

    All raise your hands and support the baby tax so we do not expand our road dependant population any further.

    Absurd?

  30. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Larry, do you ever listen to yourself?

    “We’re not talking about not having development or cars or the employment that derives from them”

    Not now maybe, but the first thing that will happen when we run out of jobs is a new WPA project for new roads.

    —————————-

    Look at those numbers. 25% for construction and service related jobs. The next 25% is government. Then Real Estate. After that, you are into chump change, except for NOVA and HR that make a lot of other stuff – paper mostly.

    It must take 2000 tons of paper to put a 2000 lb satellite in orbit.

    Yes. We ARE talking about jobs that come from development and transportation. If you have an idea on how we can cut development and transportation 50% without cutting the jobs they support 50%, I’d like to hear it.

    ——————————

    tolerance RH.. tolerance.. try to see the other side no matter how hard…

    You got the numbers, I’ll listen. I’m a scientist. You got numbers that sound like AFT, expect me to poke holes in them. I’ll poke holes in the developers numbers too: we don’t seem to have very many on this blog.

    ———————————

    “Ray knows this. All those Piedmont do-gooder guys .. they go make their money developing land in Fairfax/Loudon and then come home and tell Ray to go fish.. with his land…”

    Actually, I don’t know this. I am friends with some of Til Hazel’s relatives. The stories I hear from them is a lot different from what I hear here.

    As I understand it, he owns a lot of property, some of it is under conservation easement.
    Some of it was slated for “protecton” which he fought.

    The first Hazel farm was on land now occupied by Georgetown, and the second is now occupied by Bailey’s Crossroad.

    It is hard to blasme him for history.

    ————-
    Full disclosure: this is hearsay.

    One story was that he was nvolved in a mallproject near the Manassas battlefield. He was well along on this when it came to the attention of opposing interests. I do not know the full details, but as I understand it, PEC or some such organization got the Park Service involved and bought him out.

    He had progressed to the point that he had a “vested interest”, so buying him out was expensive.

    The story I heard was taht he made more money by NOT building than he would have if he had been allowed to go forward.

    Big developers LOVE environmentalists.

    ——————————-

    Other than that, my acquaintances are regular (although high powered) employees. Long time IBM people, Long time Government people, Old industrial money, new technology money, Old farm families (members of my church and here for generations), some people that capitalized on profits closer in, etc.

    It is a mixed bag. But there is a hard core of really big money. These are the people I DON’T know.

    ——————————

    This week I attended a public hearing. The gist is that when the flood plain protection act was passed, flood plain overlays were established (often badly) where people wer prevented from building. This is a good thing. In compensation, those with flood plain properties were granted density credits, so that they could offset (part) of their losses with additional density elsewhere on the property.

    Now the county wants to eliminate those credits. Some claimn it will amount to a large scale downzoning, affecting much of the county.

    At the hearing dozens of people spoke against the plan and three spoke for it. I have no doubt it will go forward, despite.

    —————————–

    Later, I was telling a neighbor about it. He is heavily in favor of conservation, and his land is in easement. He is a lawyer, high in the government.

    His comment was that eliminating density credits would lower the value of placing the land in conservation easement. I thought that was an interesting comment, because it was one I made recently conserning the power line deal. “Hey, if you give me back the development rights removed, back in 1986, then ther emight be enough money in it for me to consider an easement. Otherwise, frankly, and sadly, I’m better off with waht the power company will offer.”

    You can imagine how that went over. People hate the truth for some reason.

    ————————–

    I looked him straight in the eye and held his gaze. “The people at that meeting are never going to be able to afford to give a conservation easement. They are more concerned about losing more than half of their net worth.”

    It took a full two seconds for that to sink in, before I saw recognition in his eyes. he had been thinking in the “let them eat cake” mode.

    —————————

    His next gambit was: “Well, look ata all those places out on Zulla Road. Sure, an easement reduces your property value at first, but then it goes up.”

    My response was “Then the gift portion of an easement is a lie, first of all. Second, you could take any farm on Zulla Road, the most magnificent, and turn it into Georgetown, and it would be worth more money.”

    Like EMR says, on a square foot basis.

    —————————–

    The people at that meeting KNOW they are going to be squeezed out. And, like Supervisor Atherton said to me “My plan for your proerty is to have somebodye wealthy buy it, so they can afford to put it in conservation easement.”

    ——————————

    Here is what happens in the end. First there is a surplus of large properties, that only the wealthy can afford. Yet, they sell at a huge discount to their underlying worth. It is a firesale for the richa nd even the moderately wealthy.

    ——————————-
    But for the people who showed up at that meeting it is a disaster. Where they once might have put up a home, a guest cottage, or a rental, they now get nothing. Adminsitrative rigts were previously downzoned.

    These people will have nothing left, but what they live on and farm. Their capacity to borrow is diminished. They have nothing to leave their children, even if they were interested. The first time they have a family crisis, it becomes all or nothing. “Winner take all” aS EMR says.

    Otherwise, if you didn’t have rules that onley TillHazel and his lawyers can parse, they might have to split off a lot, once in a while.

    ——————————-

    It is a fire sale for the rich. I’ve seen it happen before. The old original families get forced out. The restrictive rules are eventually eased, on account of price pressure, and the second or third generation owners make out.

    ————————

    It is a travesty, and a shame that we can’t find a way to do better. When I watched the recognition seep into my neighbor’s eyes, I could sense how great the chasm is. He really did not understand.

    It is not his fault. But I come from a different place than he. I can see that my wife, and people like her at that meeting are truly the Last of the Mohicans.

    ——————————
    he actually gave money to the NIMBY group that fought the project – quietly of course…

    And why was that, pray tell?

    If NIMBY’s change their stripes,then that suggests that their cause is unjust or cynical, or maybe we don’t have rules that properly capture the dynamics.

    The reason someone “wins” at Monopoly, is that the rules are insufficient: otherwise everyone would prosper.
    ——————————-

    “I do think that most folks do not consciously opposed others the same ability to find a place.”

    I do not agree, because I have ahd literally dozens, from all walks of life, say to me exactly as much. And not in respect to any plan I might have: this was in generalized, hypothetical conversation.

    At the meeting I mentioned, there was one speaker in fafor of the proposal. He was a thoroughly craggy, grumpy, curmugeonly, antisocial sort who more or less said outright that we was opposed to anyone doing anything, anywhere near his property.

    He would have done the old curmudgeons on Kermit proud. And he would have stood the same purpose: a really bad example.

    —————————–

    “In the end – “just say no” will be the result of policies to force acceptance of degraded LOS and quality-of-life.”

    Like that old guy, you can hope.

    ——————————

    “what they won’t accept is relentless, unchecked lowering of LOS.”

    What they won’t accept is change, the one true constant.

    ———————————–

    “in the longer run.. we need policies that deal with this .. “

    No, what we need is policies as clear as the rule that says 2+2 =4.

    Policies that accept change as a constant, and policies that themselves don’t have top change in order for people to understand taht 2+2 = 4 whether you write it in English or Arabic.

    No matter where you are coming from, it is obvious and incontorvertible that the policy makes sense.

    ——————————–

    “after some earnest discussions – some acceptance.”

    OK, I agree that can happen.

    I stll think it is unusual: the exception rather than the rule.

    ——————————–

    “a new community center that serves both new and existing residents…”

    yeah, or the gated pool that serves half the community.

    Depending on whether you were there first, or pushed the “full cost” off on the newcomers.

    It cuts both ways. Property rights are like that.

    ———————————

    “what is the kiss of death for any development is the developer showing up in a suit with lawyers in tow, claiming that his plan is “legal” and meets the requirements.”

    So what you are saying is that rights are capricious, and you get more if you ar ethere firtst and get get constructed first.

    ————————-

    “there are LOTS of ways to sweeten the deal… “

    Yep, you can get something for nothing – if you are willing to steal the developers profits, or have him tax the newcomers for you.

    Off the books of course, We don’t want any “new taxes”.

    At least no on us.

    RH

    ———————————–

  31. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “Larry won’t believe that because he is focussed on preventing change, not recognizing that it is incremental and temporal.”

    Actually no.

    What I do is recognize the forces that prevent or cause change.

    For instance, you might think it is wrong for someone to have to “sell” a development.

    so?

    do you want to argue about your own ideas of what you think is correct or do you want to build your development?

    This is not rocket science.

    for every example of a development proposal that failed, I can show you 100 that succeeded by doing the very things you would insist are “not right”.

    suck it up and realize that toad-swallowing is a group sport as long as we have a free society that can elect leaders.

  32. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    for anyone who is of the belief that development restrictions have caused widespread ruination .. I would invite on a road trip in NoVa or better yet – a fly-over…

    .. where you will NOT see vast undeveloped acreage held by thousands of frustrated land-owners…..bemoaning the NIMBYs

    the entire concept being promoted as unfair to land developers is so ludicrous as to cause one to bust out guffawing…

    What Tyler and Ray are bemoaning is, that they cannot develop ANYWHERE they wish on any terms that they wish….

    and what I’ve pointed out is that we really have two very disparate groups with very disparate interests involved in the issue of development and densification in that both involve perceived quality of life issues and infrastructure.

    As I said before, you can’t succeed at development or densification if you think words on paper give you an unrestricted “right”.

    Both developers and pro-growthers tend to have a mindset that the way to achieve development or densification is to force people to do something that they perceive to be against their own interests.

    There solution is the same.

    Figure out a way to force people to do what they don’t want to do instead of recognizing what those things are that are behind their opposition – and responding to them.

    I’m not opposed to change.

    I’m the opposite but what I point out are the forces (I feel) that affect change.

  33. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    “For instance, you might think it is wrong for someone to have to “sell” a development.”

    I think government should be honest enough to state the rules and live by them. The rules should be transparent, predictable, and fair.

    You should not have to go through months of planning and calculations only to be shouted down at a public hearing.

    You either meet the requirements or you don’t.

    RH

  34. Tyler Craddock Avatar
    Tyler Craddock

    Larry, again, the differences in our worldviews are clear. You seem to support local land use decisions being based on the whims of mob rule, and I support the notion that if someone wants to dictate what happens with a particular piece of land, then they are free to purchase the land.

  35. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    “What Tyler and Ray are bemoaning is, that they cannot develop ANYWHERE they wish on any terms that they wish…. “

    Actually, I have no desire to develop anything. I’m not a developer. But, if I wanted to put a guest cottage or something onthe farm, I could not do it. I could build a horse barn, four times as big, and no one would say anything.

    So, it isn’t the development, the runoff, the utilities, or the waste that’s a problem. It is the use. People are bad, horses are good.

    ——————————–

    “instead of recognizing what those things are that are behind their opposition”

    What is behind their opposition is that they don’t want new neighbors. Period. All the rest is a scam and a cover. They are no different than the hummingbirds squabbling over territory they don’t own.

    We can create all kinds of rationalizations, but that is what it comes down to.

    RH

  36. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    “if someone wants to dictate what happens with a particular piece of land, then they are free to purchase the land.”

    That is the system we have (or had). The beauty of it is that it means you can only dictate what you can actually afford. If you want something, you have to really want it, and it has to be worth the cost.

    Instead, we now have a system where people can get what they want at other’s expense: free, no cost. All you have to do is get enough people to show up at a hearing.

    I think this kind of mob rule, known as “public participation” has gone too far. Government does have a responsibility to prevent discrimination. Most of those who spoke at the meeting were small farmers who felt that they were being discriminated against.

    In their view, the public wanted something new: to reduce building on land adjacent to the flood plains, where building is already prohibited (as a public benefit) in order to protect the streambeds (and limit emergency response in times of flood). It is a new property rights claim by the public, but paid for entirely by the landowners.

    When the flood plains were designated, density credits on the remainder of the property were granted. Now they are being taken away, just as the administrative lot rights were taken away, and equal density rights were taken away before that. Enough is enough, they said.

    Several speakers said “Look, instead of sneaking around and taking the pie one bite at a time, why not just be honest and come out and say, “no more building”. ” Put up a closed sign at the county border and be done with it.

    These people were thoroughly PO’d. But, they haven’t got the money.

    One speaker gave an amusing account, describing all the things the county could “protect” next. First the large acreage, then the streams, then the floodplains, then the land next to the floodplains, then all the land where white pine grows, anyplace that is over a hundred years old, all the land around the airport, anything within 5 miles of a county supervisors home, anyplace a school or park or landifll might be needed someday, and on and on until he described the entire county.

    Laughter filled the audience.

    I’m not swayed by the argument that you are “allowed” to do anything that is within the rules when the rules allow nothing. One speaker brought up that point with respect to alternative or community sewer systems (not currently allowed). His point was that these things are used and have a good history. At this point opposition an prohibition of them is baseless in fact. It is an engineering problem, not a zoning problem.

    Etc. Etc.

    RH

  37. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Is it possible that EMR is running the Planning Commission, Ray? By prohibiting you from building your guest house, he could be trying to push you to the point where you give up, walk away from your property for a song and move to an apartment or condo within a new urban community.

    πŸ˜‰ TMT

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