Chapter 10.9

You know you're a...
(Oregon Planners' Journal, November-December 1999, The Arkansas Planner, Spring 2002).

By Richard Carson

There is an old joke about that begins, "You know you're a redneck when..." Well, I had the same thoughts about no-growth folks and developers.

So, you know you're a "no-growther" when:

You are mad because the empty lot next to you - which is your personal open space - becomes subdivision. (Of course yon don't own the land and won't consider buying it.)

You hate the traffic congestion in your area and know it is getting worse from all the subdivisions and new homeowners. (Of course you moved into subdivision and added to the congestion.)

You firmly believe that growth is not paying as much as it should. (Of course you voted for all the ballot measures to limit the taxes you pay for government services).

You don't like the new people moving here from out-of-state and ruining your quality-of-life. (Of course you moved here from out-of-state, or your parents or grand parents did, or some ancestor of yours did. Unless of course you are a native-American)

On the other hand, you know you're a "developer" when:

You don't think it's fair to pay impact fees for public services and infrastructure. (Of course you are creating a demand for the services and yon voted on all the tax limitations that limited government's ability to do it without impact fees)

You don't think the neighborhood association should have any say in how your subdivision is being built. (Of course are creating a new neighborhood that will complain about the next development).

You complain about any increase in development fees. (Of course you will also complain when your application takes too long to be processed because of the growing backlog of applications).

You complain about how much time the planners spend reviewing your application. (Of course you hired consultants that didn't know what the local process is about or they just weren't very good at what they do and are making the planning staff design it for them).

If you - my friend - see some of yourself here, then you are being a hypocrite. You don't have a rational reason to stop growth or to promote it. It is "mea culpa" time folks. As the great comic strip philosopher, Pogo, said, "I have met the enemy and he is us." The problem is that both groups will pay money to buy a bigger house or car, to buy the trendiest designer clothes, and to swallow the latest drugs to make them happy or improve their sex life - but both don't want to invest in public services and any thing that improves the quality-of-life. The bottom line is that government is dropping the level of service even as you read this. Next time you sit in your car or sit in the permit center cursing the delays, remember - you decided this was exactly what you wanted. Other things were more important.

Moral: You don't get what you don't pay for.

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Common Sense
by Richard H. Carson