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Re: SG-W:/lots of families...



Thanks, Kris.  Your message highlights an issue I left out of my brief
earlier posting:  the need to look at sprawl on a national or global scale.
Limiting the number of houses in one area may 'solve' the sprawl problem in
one area, even with large lot sizes and excessive per-capita land
consumption.  But it seems to me that the the displaced housing -- the
housing that was kept out of the first area -- ends up getting built
elsewhere and consuming land there.  Is this analysis wrong?

The converse is also true, as Kris noted in her message.  If one area agrees
to higher density development without other areas taking similar steps, or
without the first area also defining a growth boundary or some other limit
to development, there may not be any net progress in reducing sprawl.  In
this sense, sprawl is a classic collective action problem:  the rational
action on a collective basis is not the rational action on an individual or
local basis.  These kinds of situations usually result in sub-optimal
solutions unless there's some kind of overarching organization or
policy-making body.  In fact, collective action problems (like sprawl) are
one of the main reasons why government intervention in 'free' markets is
beneficial on both a practical and theoretical level.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Kris Talley" <ktalley@umich.edu>
To: "Michael Sklar" <tigers3@mediaone.net>
Cc: <smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Friday, March 16, 2001 6:54 PM
Subject: Re: SG-W:/lots of families...


> It seems like a key part of the density discussion is the "for any given
> number of dwellings" part of Mike's statement.   Certainly, high density
is
> good if we had zoning or planning that dictates not lot sizes but how many
> homes can be built in a given area, so that "number of dwellings" can be
> clustered in a way that preserves open space.  But for some reason zoning
> and planning isn't like that, so for any given area where small lot sizes
do
> promote high-density development, any land that is "saved" generally seems
> to be used for... more development.
>
> At some point, one could say, housing demand is satisfied and less land
> overall is used, but I think it's natural for people to worry that by the
> time that happens, we'll have a lot of high-density development in a given
> *area* and not much open space to show for it.  We would, however (to get
> back to the subject Jeff brought up), probably have more affordable
housing
> than if all the development had been on 10-acre lots.
>
> In general, I think high-density development is the way to go, but I can
> understand why people have concerns about it in specific situations.
>
> Michael Sklar wrote:
> >
> > I've written the list on this subject before, so I'll keep it brief:
large
> > lot development doesn't stop sprawl, it IS sprawl -- sprawl on steroids,
in
> > fact.  The math is inescapable:  the lower the density, the more land is
> > consumed by human habitation and infrastructure at the expense of
farmland
> > and wildlands for any given number of dwellings.  Sure, I want my 5 or
10
> > acres on the edge of the city.  So does everyone else, and the result is
> > that no one gets what they want.
> >
> >   - Mike Sklar
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Kris Talley" <ktalley@umich.edu>
> > To: <smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net>
> > Sent: Friday, March 16, 2001 3:35 PM
> > Subject: Re: SG-W:/lots of families...
> >
> > > I don't know, I get the impression a lot of people mind higher density
> > > developments very much.  Was just reading an AA News article about a
> > > developer suing York township:
> > >
> > >
> >
http://aa.mlive.com/news/index.ssf?/news/stories/20010315a930amc2yorksuit15.
> > frm
> > >
> > > Here's a quote, which doesn't seem at all unusual:
> > >
> > > "But [a] neighbor...who lives across from the proposed development on
> > Milkey
> > > Road, said she felt reasonable development would involve five-acre
lots,
> > not
> > > one-acre. More than 300 homes on the dirt road would disturb the
area's
> > > rural feel, she said."
> > >
> > > Anyone have comments about this particular development, by the way?
> > >
> > > Christina Lirones wrote:
> > > >
> > > > Our planning commission, of which I'm a member, is working on two
> > proposals
> > > > for higher density developments, both very well-received so far, one
for
> > 7
> > > > DU per acre, one for 4-5 DU per acre. (Which, granted, isn't very
high
> > > > density) I've found higher density is well accepted and encouraged
on
> > land
> > > > and in areas that are appropriate. Now, as to the affordability...
the
> > > > developers talk affordable, but then present what they call
"moderate"
> > > > $120,000 to $150,000. Some that were proposed and approved in the
> > $200,000
> > > > range actually were built and sold at $700,000!
> > > >
> > > > I don't think folks mind high density developments, with large
numbers
> > of
> > > > people in a small area, though, rightly or wrongly, they may balk at
> > > > subsidized housing and Mobile home parks which pay almost no taxes.
> > > > Christina Lirones (Pittsfield)
> > > >
> > > > >From: "Chris Greene" <crgreene@med.umich.edu>
> > > > >To: <smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net>
> > > > >Subject: Re: SG-W:/ food for thought
> > > > >Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2001 12:15:50 -0500
> > > > >
> > > > >Agreed.  It seems that when zoning boards are presented with a
project
> > > > >which would include a large number of families in a small area,
their
> > > > >reaction is the same as it is to a landfill:  "Yes, our area needs
> > them,
> > > > >but not in my backyard, and not on my civic infrastructure."
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > >>> "Jeff Surfus" <jeffsurfus@msn.com> 03/16/01 11:46AM >>>
> > > > >Things have been a little slow as of late, so I thought I'd throw a
few
> > > > >tidbits out there for folks to consider.
> > > > >
> > > > >The Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) is a local nonprofit that
> > > > >provides shelter, meals, case management, program referrals, and
> > housing
> > > > >assistance to more than 100 homeless families per year in Washtenaw
> > > > >County.  Last night they had the grand opening of their brand new
> > facility
> > > > >on Jackson Avenue.  It's a beautiful facility that will provide
short
> > term
> > > > >housing for homeless families in Washtenaw County who are trying to
get
> > > > >back on their feet.
> > > > >
> > > > >I picked up a card that they were handing out that had the
following
> > > > >facts:
> > > > >
> > > > >-At least 1,900 people in Washtenaw County are homeless on any
given
> > day.
> > > > >
> > > > >-More than half of these are children and their parents.
> > > > >
> > > > >-750 of these homeless people will go without food for 1 or more
days.
> > > > >
> > > > >-90% of all heads of household participating in IHN ARE EMPLOYED.
> > > > >
> > > > >-The average annual income for a family of 4 in IHN's temporary
shelter
> > is
> > > > >less than $14,000 or $6.73/hour.
> > > > >
> > > > >-The fair market rent for a 3-bedroom apartment in Washtenaw County
is
> > > > >$968/month or $11,616/year.
> > > > >
> > > > >-Impoverished families spend 60-70% of their income on housing
costs,
> > > > >double that of 25 years ago.
> > > > >
> > > > >-The waiting period to get into local public housing can be up to
five
> > > > >years.
> > > > >
> > > > >-WASHTENAW COUNTY NEEDS 600 OR MORE UNITS OF LOW COST HOUSING TO
> > > > >ACCOMODATE THE CURRENT NUMBER OF HOMELESS ADULTS AND CHILDREN.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >How do we balance these needs with the need for open space,
> > agricultural
> > > > >land, and parkland?
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >How can we seriously talk about 10 acre versus 2 acre lot sizes
when so
> > > > >many people can't even afford a roof over their heads?
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >Jeff Surfus
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
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