Sunday, April 29, 2007

Zoning regulations - Government Rent Control?

The recent discussions on land zoning regulations led me to think of the current development and growth in my hometown of Colorado Springs. I have lived in this region for thirteen years of massive growth. Areas of town that were not inhabited such as Stetson Hills, Falcon and Fountain have experienced dramatic housing and commercial growth. I'm a firm believer in "responsible growth", yet it seems that zoning changes from previously agriculture zoned land to residential is merely a phone call and a back room discussion away from approval. It is true that these changes in zoning to residential applications increases employment, tax base and promote economic growth, however is this growth smart?

The east side of Colorado Springs is a ill-conceived sprawl of suburbia. This has led to increases in schools with no funding to provide new schools (i.e. Falcon School District. In the mix on the development is the question of water availability. Furthermore, as the population of Colorado Springs heads east, no insight has been given to improving our east-west travel. I do realize that growth has periods of changes and adjustments yet, our city council and county commissioners have given little consideration to responsible growth, rather a green light to developers to keep building.

It is interesting that this land can be so easily rezoned without thinking of the ramifications of the development. A moritorium on building is not a viable answer. The plans of developers should be closer scrutinzed to examine their appeal, need and sustainability. It appears to me that our local government is thinking in a short term mentality of stimulating our economy, when a long run plan is in the other back room waiting to rear its ugly head.

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