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Old 02-08-2014, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,708,722 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
I would feel safer walking past or to my car than riding an hour or more on public transit or waiting at a bus stop in an strange area. It does not block the space to people, people walk right by them all the time the same way they walk by buildings.
I happen to live in a city with too many surface lots downtown. Many of the lots are closed after 6pm. Some lots I have never seen open on any day. They are just closed by chains. The areas next to the lots have no foot traffic, because that parking lot space is not active at all. Some of the lots are blight.

Surface lots decrease the numbers of eyes on the street and feelings of safety. Buildings usually have people milling about in and out. Parking lots, after hours, have nothing but dark corners.
Feeling "safe" on the street is mostly a matter of lights, visibility, and eyes on the street. If the only users of the street are going by at 30mph, they aren't going to "see" what is happening on the sidewalk.
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Old 02-08-2014, 05:04 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,857,889 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
That would never happen because in this fictitious town no one would build a single-family house on a 1/4 lot with high taxes unless it was to sell to a wealthy buyer who could afford the taxes. single-family homes would be built further out where the taxes are lower.
There's two simple ways it could happen:
1) The housing was built under a property tax regime, which was then switched to a land-value tax regime.
2) There was originally a more uniform development of single-family homes with just a few apartments. Then, for whatever reason, apartments became more popular so more were built.

In the first case, switching the tax drives the SFH owners out. In the second case, the services necessary for the apartment dwellers increase the total tax burden which is then distributed over all the land equally, driving the SFH owners out.

Quote:
LVT taxes aren't a uniform tax per square foot regardless of location.
True, but this is a detail.

Quote:
No. The closer you are to a fire department the more you would pay.
Eh, no. The tax is a land _value_ tax, and land value generally has little to do with the proximity to a fire department; land right next to one might go at a discount, in fact.

Quote:
Again, go to New York and you'll find buildings right on Central Park will pay taxes a good deal higher than an identical building 6 blocks off.
Of course, because tax is based on land + improvements. Making it land-only magnifies the effect significantly.
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Old 02-08-2014, 06:23 PM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,864,073 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
I happen to live in a city with too many surface lots downtown. Many of the lots are closed after 6pm. Some lots I have never seen open on any day. They are just closed by chains. The areas next to the lots have no foot traffic, because that parking lot space is not active at all. Some of the lots are blight.

Surface lots decrease the numbers of eyes on the street and feelings of safety. Buildings usually have people milling about in and out. Parking lots, after hours, have nothing but dark corners.
Feeling "safe" on the street is mostly a matter of lights, visibility, and eyes on the street. If the only users of the street are going by at 30mph, they aren't going to "see" what is happening on the sidewalk.
My city parking lots downtown are usually open 24/7 and only the one near me might be blight(if only because there is no one keeping it up and it might be oversized to demand-but needed). I would agree about lighting but eyes on the street not really unless the buildings have customers or something. Even with surface parking one has to get out and walk to your destination so there will be some traffic on the street.

If the lots are not open on any day it suggests a lack of demand in the area. Demand either for the parking or for the land that it is on.
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Old 02-08-2014, 06:37 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,708,722 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
My city parking lots downtown are usually open 24/7 and only the one near me might be blight(if only because there is no one keeping it up and it might be oversized to demand-but needed). I would agree about lighting but eyes on the street not really unless the buildings have customers or something. Even with surface parking one has to get out and walk to your destination so there will be some traffic on the street.

If the lots are not open on any day it suggests a lack of demand in the area. Demand either for the parking or for the land that it is on.
It is definitely a mixed bag. We aren't 24/7 downtown yet. There are some blocks that are all offices. There are some blocks that at all parking (and no demand since there are 3 huge garages and a surface lot). The pockets of activity are disconnected, but in the areas with the most foot traffic, the surface parking lots have been removed for new or completed development. But some of the active blocks as discontinuous. So you go from quiet to busy over the course of a 1/2 stretch.

Lots of redevelopment happening. There is an area north of downtown full of parking lot squatters. Tons of surface lots in auto row. It is in transition with art galleries mixing with car stuff. So the squatters are waiting it out and refuse to sell.
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:01 PM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,958,688 times
Reputation: 1953
Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
There's two simple ways it could happen:
1) The housing was built under a property tax regime, which was then switched to a land-value tax regime.
So if in the rare situation where you have a lot of big apartment buildings right next to a lot of SFH then you either limit tax increases on those properties until the house is sold (as is already done to some extent in CA and NJ) or, in the case of cities that have already done it, you phase in the changes over a decade and, as most towns have done, you have a 60/40 split or a 70/30 split or something like that.


Quote:
2) There was originally a more uniform development of single-family homes with just a few apartments. Then, for whatever reason, apartments became more popular so more were built.
That's what zoning is for, right? Even if you were in Houston you can't big build big apartment buildings without the appropriate level of supporting infrastructure so I'm not so sure how much of a problem this would actually be.

Quote:
In the first case, switching the tax drives the SFH owners out. In the second case, the services necessary for the apartment dwellers increase the total tax burden which is then distributed over all the land equally, driving the SFH owners out.
No, the tax isn't distributed over all the land equally. The tax you're paying is a combination of lot size, access to infrastructure and amenities, and location (the value of that location being largely determined by your access to infra + amenities).

This isn't theoretical - this is how it works. This is how it's done in cities that have it.


Quote:
True, but this is a detail.
It's a critically important detail.


Quote:
Eh, no. The tax is a land _value_ tax, and land value generally has little to do with the proximity to a fire department; land right next to one might go at a discount, in fact.
Let's say I buy 100 acres out in Lancaster County, PA for $5 million. I subdivide it into 200 lots, spend another $5 million putting in roads and utilities. The value of that land isn't then worth $10 million. The location of the land hasn't changed but it's worth far more now because I connected it to the grid.

If I build 200 houses on it, sell my houses for $250k, then, just to be a jerk, I come back 5 years later, cut all the utilities and tear up the road that connects the development to the arterial then I can guarantee that no one in that development will be selling their house for anymore than the average of what I paid for those lots when I bought it as a farm field . . . at least not until someone turns the utilities back on and fixes the road.

Sure, land has value because of its proximity to other things of value but those things also derive their value from the infrastructure they're connected to. Supporting infrastructure is why we collect taxes in the first place.

And I agree, a house right next to the FD would be worth less than one 100m away but a house 400m away would be worth more than one a mile away.

Quote:
Of course, because tax is based on land + improvements. Making it land-only magnifies the effect significantly.
It wouldn't magnify anything. It wouldn't necessarily change anything. All it would mean is that a shabby looking 10 story building would be paying the same taxes as the posh, 15 story building right next to it. The building owner/coop/condo board then has a different incentive to keep their building tip-top.

I'm sure people would imagine a scenario where taxes skyrocket and all of these buildings get torn down to make way for colossal towers to cover the taxes, not that market forces don't already exert those same pressures, but just because you change your tax system doesn't mean you throw out every form of zoning control or historic preservation - you just change the way you implement those things.
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:32 PM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,958,688 times
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If anyone is familiar with it - 39° 57′ 28.62″ N, 75° 10′ 14.95″ W will take you to Swann Memorial Fountain in Philadelphia. The value of that land isn't arbitrarily determined by those GPS coordinates. It's worth $100 s/f (or $500 or whatever it is) because there's a great Park/Fountain there, there's a parkway lined with some of the best museums in the country and because transit and other services are top notch. It's also a feedback loop, the other businesses, homes and offices that are attracted to that location further increase its value.

That's how the land value is determined.

*************************

Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
I'm not sure your rowhouse would have such high property taxes. Serviced outer suburban residential zoned land in the Toronto area is around $1.5-2.0 million/acre. In downtown adjacent lowrise zoned neighbourhoods it's around $10-15 million/acre. My guess is you'd only pay something in between your grandparents house and townhouse and still a fair bit less than your uncle. In order to pay as much property tax as your uncle, land values would have to be 45x higher...
My land, based on other lots that have sold within 5 blocks of my house int he last year, is worth about $60k. That works out to about $2.9-$3 million an acre.

Land in my grandparents town is worth about half as much.

Land in my uncles town is worth about half my grandparents.

At present my uncle pays more than anyone because has a big chunk of land and a huge house on it. The town still has to provide a base level of municipal services over a large land area with a low density of households to collect it from.

My own property taxes, at present, are laughably low. I don't even like to talk to my suburban friends about it because they just get mad. But part of the reason my taxes are so low is because the city takes its pound of flesh out of my paycheck. Still, even if you took all of my wage tax and transferred it to my property tax my total bill would still be less than my suburban friends who have smaller houses than I do.

I'm glad that my taxes are so low but, big picture, it's kind of ridiculous to be as close to the subway as I am and as close to City Hall as I am and have everything within a half mile radius of the subway be zoned single-family residential - granted, it's all rowhomes so it's dense, and I certainly wouldn't want to see historic neighborhoods bulldozed to make way for towers but, at least in theory subways are a huge investment and cities should make the most of that investment by fully utilizing them (at present the subway is running at about 1/2 capacity).

Last edited by drive carephilly; 02-08-2014 at 07:41 PM..
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:44 PM
 
2,825 posts, read 3,355,297 times
Reputation: 3031
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
The only winner is the owner of the lot. Surface parking lots discourage activity on the streets and sidewalks. Blocks with surface parking do not encourage pedestrian activity.
??? This is silly. First, whose objective is it to "encourage" pedestrian activity.
Second, unless the lot or improvement is the destination, the lot is not going to discourage pedestrian activity. Th lot might even encourage pedestrian activity. After all people can drive, park, and walk.

Quote:
A surface lot in the middle of downtown is terrible. A surface lot in a walkable Main Street area sucks too.
Why? Do you fear open spaces? Your objective seems to be walling in streets with buildings.

Quote:
A surface lot blocks the space to people not in a car.
Ridiculous. Your implication is that a building should be there instead? A building sitting there is going to block the space to pedestrians and cars. How is that "better" given your view of what's "bad"?

Quote:
Raise you hand if you feel safe walking past an dark empty parking lot at night.
You prefer walking in front of/behind/around a dark empty building? Is your problem the lot or the lack of light? Whose "fault" is the latter? Seems a little self-centered and elitist to suggest that a lot owner needs to put up a tower to make you more comfortable when you choose to go strolling past the owner's property at night.

Last edited by IC_deLight; 02-08-2014 at 08:32 PM..
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:48 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
32,412 posts, read 59,910,649 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
My own property taxes, at present, are laughably low. I don't even like to talk to my suburban friends about it because they just get mad. But part of the reason my taxes are so low is because the city takes its pound of flesh out of my paycheck. Still, even if you took all of my wage tax and transferred it to my property tax my total bill would still be less than my suburban friends who have smaller houses than I do.
Don't be so smug. Your property taxes are so low because Philadelphia has mismanaged its property assessments for decades, and because the Philadelphia school district is not financially independent of municipal government as are school districts in the suburbs. My school board can raise property taxes whenever it damn well pleases; yours cannot.

Philly lags other cities in school funding | Philadelphia Public School Notebook

Quote:
Unlike all the other districts in the state, Philadelphia’s has no authority to raise taxes. Instead it must appeal to a City Council that resents the District’s independence
When and if Philadelphia catches up to the 21st Century, you'll be singing a different tune.
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Old 02-08-2014, 08:13 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,857,889 times
Reputation: 9769
Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
So if in the rare situation where you have a lot of big apartment buildings right next to a lot of SFH then you either limit tax increases on those properties until the house is sold (as is already done to some extent in CA and NJ) or, in the case of cities that have already done it, you phase in the changes over a decade and, as most towns have done, you have a 60/40 split or a 70/30 split or something like that.
This is just delaying the problem -- but like I said, land value tax proponents don't see it as a problem that single-family uses are taxed out.
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Old 02-08-2014, 08:22 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,992 posts, read 42,037,172 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
As I said, think macro not micro. If it's revenue-neutral, you're right. But you're ignoring the fact that most businesses already locate outside of downtown areas as it is. Microsoft's original 88 acre Redmond shopping center was chosen because it was much cheaper than doing the old IBM route of a big tower downtown. Maybe Microsoft would have stayed on its 88 acre shopping center instead of its current HQs which encompasses 500 acres and built up.
For Seattle, not really. Forty-four percent of office space is downtown (non-office businesses tend not to use downtowns), and I'd guess a slightly higher percent of office jobs are assuming downtown offices use a bit less space per worker.

http://downtownseattle.com/files/fil...ace1.16.13.pdf

Looks like in the last few years, the majority of office space construction has been downtown. On page 8:

http://www.downtownseattle.com/asset...ty-Report1.pdf

a parking lot and garage yield far less land revenue per land in the current tax system. Does that make sense? It still takes up scarce land while paying much less tax.
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