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Old 11-17-2010, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,889 posts, read 102,301,239 times
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This is such a lengthly post with so much information that I'm just going to insert my responses in blue:

Quote:
Originally Posted by docwatson View Post
It seems we can debate the particulars of any single neighborhood or city to no end - it seems everyone here is well-informed. I think bigger picture there is no question cities have suffered from a series of ill-conceived public investments and misguided regulatory policies that have destroyed value there while supporting new suburbs with infrastructure, with many cities just recovering or not yet recovered; while suburbs have been the recipient of strong governmental support, which is not a value judgment. I myself think it is a bit disingenuous if I were to live in Boulder where we preserve so much open space, and then tell Denver to pave over their best ecosystems just so I can drive thru quicker, but lets leave the highway issue.

I do not live in Boulder, and I do not appreiate being called a liar.

And I'm sorry if anyone took things the wrong way - I never called anyone here racist, but simply pointed out what any developer or anyone is a related field knows - new developments with any density to speak of have faced opposition from so many local governments and protesters, while zoning and engineering standards for decades required monocultures of single-family homes on govt-mandated minimum size lots, punctuated by strip malls.

I moved to Louisville in 1982. I saw it grow from a city of 5000 to a city of 20,000. As I have posted previously, there has been good and bad to the growth. As new housing developments, mostly but not exclusively single family, were proposed, there was always some group in opposition to them. I saw as much if not more opposition to the high end homes in the Sled Hill development as I did to any condo/townhome prosal. Using terms like "those people" when talking to a person who disagrees with you is not conducive to a decent dialogue, especially since I never said it.

What I want to ask is: Is one sprawling city from the Springs to Fort Collins what we really want? Because it may be what we get.

I lived in Fort Collins for many years and my answer is an emphatic "no." I want my open spaces, I want working farms.

If it were economical to farm here, people would be doing it. This is not a climate conducive to farming much of anything except for grazing animals. Irrigation is a huge water user. The bizarre climate with a short growing season precludes the growing of many crops.

The tall grass prairie along the foot of the front range is a unique ecosystem nurtured by our 13"-15" of rain, and gives way pretty quickly to the drier shortgrass prairies further east. The Platte Valley north of Denver is one of the richest agricultural regions in the nation.

See above. I've lived in one of the richest ag regions of the country, central Illinois. They don't have to irrigate. There's a long growing season. Corn is sometimes harvested well into November.

The tragic four mile fire is a reminder of the risks and costs of building in fire-prone foothills. It seems we are poor stewards indeed if the only use we can see these lands' value in their potential for it is transformation to suburban sprawl.

The four mile canyon area is hardly suburban sprawl.

Likewise our beautiful cottonwood ecosytems that could be restored in places like the Platte valley. But I also don't want all the no-growth drama of Boulder because I believe there's space enough for all of us and we can't just push people out. I also want the choice to live in a denser walkable neighborhood.

I'd be curious what you think, Katiana, as you've clearly chosen to live in a town surrounded by open space and with some smart growth elements (such as walkability and no cul-de-sacs) that you cite as positives; and some effort to revitalize the downtown (true, more as a quaint place than a place to live, work or commute). I don't mean to imply you chose or support these policies, and you may not, but I think it gives an image of what a smarter-growth community may start (just start) to look like.

As I said, I don't live in Boulder.

I also found this article interesting in light of our discussion:
Younger greens reject old ideas about urbanity

As goes Berkeley, so goes Boulder, perhaps?
^^Probably not. That was supposed to be my generation, too. But it didn't work out that way. The idealism of the 60s turned into the avariciousness of the 80s, and the McMansions of the 90s. I'm not proud of everything the Baby Boomers have done. But I don't think the next generation is "better" or "smarter" or more superior to us in any way. It's all reinventing the wheel.

Last edited by Katarina Witt; 11-17-2010 at 03:14 PM..
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Old 11-17-2010, 03:08 PM
 
2,755 posts, read 11,741,437 times
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I think what we've learned so far in Northern Colorado is individual efforts always fail and it takes a regional approach. We have four counties we're talking about: (from south to north) Adams, Boulder, Weld, and Larimer.

Of the four, Boulder has been the most strongly anti-growth, but its efforts have backfired -- Boulder (city) simply displaced its growth: first to Boulder / Broomfield Counties, then to Weld/Larimer.

Larimer is kind of a mixed bag, with Fort Collins and the county leaning towards a Boulder-approach, and Loveland / Berthoud / Timnath pursuing a more pro-growth approach. The result is that Fort Collins has taken a huge sales-tax hit courtesy of Loveland and Timnath, just like Boulder did with courtesy of Broomfield

Weld, on the other hand, has been absolutely 100% pro-growth, and has seen its western portions develop quickly as a response to Boulder and Larimer counties policies. Weld county sees its exits along I-25 as potential sales tax goldmines, and it is committed to providing both the retail and the rooftops to follow. Similarly, in the Adams county I-25 corridor, Westminster and Broomfield (technically its own county) are racing with each other to see who can develop their portions the quickest to get that sales tax dollar. The whole thing reminds a bit of the Oklahoma Land Run -- rush out to see who can get their claim in first.

The bottom line is that the stable cities like Fort Collins and Boulder need to reach out to Weld and see if they can cut a deal. Much of the rapid expansion is out of fear anyway -- nobody wants to end up like Northglenn, surrounded and isolated by its neighbors and squeezed out of sales tax dollars. Sales tax revenue sharing should be the key -- it would collect sales tax in one pot and distribute it according to some formula -- so cities won't have to worry that their neighbor will build a new Super Wal-Mart right on their doorstep. Cities won't need to resort to dubious TIF givaways, as Loveland did with its Centerra project, because cities wouldn't be concerned whether retail ends up on their side of the line or their neighbors' side.
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:25 PM
 
625 posts, read 1,185,177 times
Reputation: 569
Quote:
I do not live in Boulder, and I do not appreiate being called a liar.
Quote:
Uh ... I live in Boulder. I, me, myself - not you. I think you have a sensitivity issue - first people who talk about the development business and historical conditions are calling you racist. Now people are accusing you of living in Boulder or being a liar. Please!

Quote:
If it were economical to farm here, people would be doing it. This is not a climate conducive to farming much of anything except for grazing animals. Irrigation is a huge water user. The bizarre climate with a short growing season precludes the growing of many crops.
Quote:
The Platte River Valley is one of the richest ag regions in the U.S. Yes, requiring irrigation. Some of the most productive land is irrigated, I'm not sure I have an opinion on that. We do have about 150 frost free days a year. Not California's central valley, but a very well regarded ag region with great soil, from all I've been told by people in the biz.

Quote:
I'd be curious what you think, Katiana, as you've clearly chosen to live in a town surrounded by open space and with some smart growth elements (such as walkability and no cul-de-sacs) that you cite as positives; and some effort to revitalize the downtown (true, more as a quaint place than a place to live, work or commute). I don't mean to imply you chose or support these policies, and you may not, but I think it gives an image of what a smarter-growth community may start (just start) to look like.
Uh ... this is Louisville I am describing. Did you not know it is also virtually surrounded by open space? I thought you live there, but at the risk of offending you I appologize if you don't.

Quote:
I don't think the next generation is "better" or "smarter" or more superior to us in any way.
Jeez, I didn't read this in the article at all. It's an article about a changing mind-set in a very particular group - that of environmentalists - who have been infuential in stymying development in San Francisco and Berkeley.

It's apparent no matter what anyone says, no matter what historical period or situation they talk about or what opinion they hold, you take it as a personal affront. I'm sorry you feel this way. No one called you a racist or a liar. This is my last post in response to anything you post.

Thanks to the others on here for some good points. Time to wrap up this thread, Mike?

Its unfortuante I never really got a feel if people really think we should try to manage (again, manage, not stop) the Springs-to-Fort-Collins sprawl or just let it happen to our region. Heck, Oregon has done it, under a Republican governor no less, why can't we? I have high hopes for Hickenlooper, one of those few pragmatic, intelligent and moderate political leaders out there ...
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:57 PM
 
555 posts, read 1,035,368 times
Reputation: 545
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
With the growth issue rearing its ugly head on this forum, I am submitting my own "modest proposal".
As of a predetermined date, all non-native Coloradans must leave the state. There will be no exceptions! If you give a non-native an inch, he/she will take a mile...
nice straw man. nobody here is anti-growth. we are just concerned about how and where it is happening.
Quote:
I don't quite understand the issue of "subsidization by other taxpayers". It sounds a little like envy.
we are talking about subsidizing through infrastructure and tax code. highways are payed for largely by the federal government, but when it comes to light rail and streetcars which benefit urban areas we have to raise taxes on ourselves. maybe you missed doc's original post-
Quote:
1. Demolish downtowns (like most of Denver) with federal funds, and drive highways and wider roads thru them.
2. Again with federal funds, drive highways thru historic neighborhoods, connecting suburbs to downtown, using federal infrastructure to add value in exurbs and destroy value in older neighborhoods.
3. Use federal funds to drive highways thru river valleys and along waterfronts, again destroying value in cities.
4. Adopt zoning codes that limit most developments to no more than 4 or 5 units per acre
5. For 50 years, restricted mortgage guarantees to suburban cul-de-sac neighborhoods thru Fannie and Freddie
6. Force us all to pay for upkeep on excessive roads and to pay for mortgage tax deductions
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Old 11-17-2010, 05:09 PM
 
20,841 posts, read 39,059,222 times
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One wild card in all this is population growth. The sprawl of the 1950-1990's was the result of the Baby Boom (FF) phenomena. Early on it was the WW-II generation taking their BB families to the suburbs and then later during those years the BB kids hit their prime income and spending years and continued to move out to where THEY could afford to live. Meanwhile, the hub and spoke commuting patterns of big old cities with dense urban cores played hell with driving and transit.

But that may be over for the most part as BBs are having a lot fewer babies than their WW-II era parents.

IIRC, the Birth Rate (BR) in the USA is barely at replacement level (RL), which is considered to be 2.1 live births per woman of child-bearing age. In Europe, China, Japan, and Korea, BRs are a little to a lot below RL, and portend badly in that there are too few young workers to pay for the retirements and health care of seniors. Even in the developing / third world nations, the BRs are declining as people are better educated and understand economics and birth control much better than in days of your.

If BRs in the USA stay below RL, and if we stop illegal immigration, and if we keep current limits on legal immigration, then there seems precious little growth to fill up all that green space, save for state-to-state migration.

Ben Wattenberg's book, "Fewer," explains all of these population numbers quite well.

Lastly, one economic pundit, Harry S. Dent, doesn't see the echo boomer generation hitting their main earning and spending years until about 2023, so we could see a surge in buying homes at that time, but we must take into account that by 2025, virtually all of the WW-II generation will have passed, so will have the earliest BB'ers who will be 80 by then, millions more will be in retirement or nursing homes, all of which will free up existing properties and reduce the need for more sprawl.

Interesting stuff.

EDIT: IMO we're seeing the worm turn. Large numbers of people on this site are asking about walkable cities and close-in living with short commutes and/or use of transit. As we become more educated and aware of the costs of sprawl, infrastructure, oil shortages and costs, commuting times, quality of life, etc, I think we'll see people staying closer to cities and not sprawling as much as in the past. I hope so.
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Old 11-17-2010, 05:29 PM
 
625 posts, read 1,185,177 times
Reputation: 569
Mike - any thoughts or insights on the projections for the "next 100 million" in the U.S. by 2050, or the next 1 million in the Denver metro area by 20??. I know demographics is a moving target and California has made significant changes, in part b/c the birth rate among immigrants has been lower than earlier expected.
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Old 11-17-2010, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,889 posts, read 102,301,239 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woob View Post
nice straw man. nobody here is anti-growth. we are just concerned about how and where it is happening.

Oh? How about this?
Quote:
Originally Posted by woob View Post
According to your link, while denver increased by about 60,000 the metro area exploded by over 600,000 (more than the entire population of denver). maybe you see this as progress, but the amount of farmland and prairie paved over to accomodate those people while beautiful buildings (such as those on curtis street) were destroyed is disheartening to me.


we are talking about subsidizing through infrastructure and tax code. highways are payed for largely by the federal government, but when it comes to light rail and streetcars which benefit urban areas we have to raise taxes on ourselves. maybe you missed doc's original post-
This?

Quote:
6. Force us all to pay for upkeep on excessive roads and to pay for mortgage tax deductions
For starts, I didn't say I saw all growth as progress. I didn't say anything about growth except that it is happening. However, I've seen what negative growth can do. If you think it's bad to have to pass bond issues to build more schools, go look at what happens when school after school has to be closed due to lack of students, as happened in the mill towns in the Pittsburgh area in the recent past. My hometown can't keep its swimming pool open. The linoleum floors in the library continue to crumble away, just as they were starting to do 40 years ago when I graduated from high school. It looks like a ghost town with people living in it.

I honestly don't know what anyone would have against a tax deduction for mortgage interest, unless they weren't personally benefitting from it.
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Old 11-17-2010, 05:56 PM
 
625 posts, read 1,185,177 times
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Quote:
honestly don't know what anyone would have against a tax deduction for mortgage interest unless they weren't personally benefitting from it.
I think it s both a philosophical and a fiscal issue.

First, in a market-based system, I don't see the need for those with a mortgage to get a tax deduction that someone who owns their home free and clear, or rents, doesn't receive. I believe there ought to be a fair playing field and the government should not re-distribute money from one group (renters or those without a mortgage) to another group. So its essentially a fairness issue - should the government decide who gets a benefit based on a purely private decision (to get a mortgage). Govt. already establishes a system to guarantee 30-year mortgages, which seems a good role to me.

Additionally, there is little evidence that the deduction actually serves a purpose of encouraging home ownership - Canada for example has not such deduction, yet their homeownership rate is equal to the U.S. over time. (Full disclosure: there is now a $5,000 tax credit for downpayments in Canada).

What the deduction may do is to incentivize larger or more expensive homes - if one is in the 25% or 33% tax bracket, it may make more sense on an individual basis to put that income into a mortgage than pay it to Uncle Sam.

On a fiscal note, the deduction is a drain on public funds. Any economist will say a tax deduction is actually government spending. I'd prefer the funds go to balancing our budget, or at least to across-the-baord tax cuts, rather than to targeted transfer payments from those without mortgages to those with. Admittedly, on some issues I tend to be more pro-market than is politically correct ...

That said, I admit to strong support for certain policies like the child tax credit - I see a government role in helping families raise children. So call me a hypocrite. I just feel its a bit beyond govt's role to financially reward one housing tenure choice over another.

Last edited by docwatson; 11-17-2010 at 06:13 PM..
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Old 11-17-2010, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
5,608 posts, read 20,672,246 times
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The northern Front Range I-25 corridor is the blandest, ugliest, most un-scenic, worst planned part of the state IMO. It has nothing to do with "suburban" vs "urban," high-density vs low density; it's all about location. There aren't really any significant employment options up there either, nothing comparable to downtown Denver or the Denver Tech Center. If I was going to live in a far out satellite suburb, I'd rather live in a place like Castle Rock or north Colorado Springs metro area or even somewhere like Canon City/ Pueblo West, than a place like Johnstown or Firestone.
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Old 11-17-2010, 08:17 PM
 
20,841 posts, read 39,059,222 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docwatson View Post
Mike - any thoughts or insights on the projections for the "next 100 million" in the U.S. by 2050, or the next 1 million in the Denver metro area by 20??. I know demographics is a moving target and California has made significant changes, in part b/c the birth rate among immigrants has been lower than earlier expected.
No real info on that one. Wattenberg said he expects world population to reach 9B people by 2050 due to the number of women now of child-bearing age and the current numbers of young females who will enter their child-bearing years between now and then. But the trend line on birth rates is down across the board and by 2050 he expects it will cause a natural population decline. I shudder to think what 9B people will do to the planet and it's resources; and no one can predict what if any calamities may befall humankind in the meantime.

Between climate change, water resources, lowered birth rates, deep economic recession(s), job losses, cost of living, cost of health care, cost of raising children, etc, we may never see Denver add another million people unless they flee high tax states like CA, NY, NJ, etc.
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