Developers & Growth in Aurora
June 17, 2009
It is no secret that developers have been big players in the City of Aurora, both as donors to local officials and as policy-drivers for Aurora's growth policy, which has suffered from periods of serious sprawl, punctuated with some good in-fill planning. The right kind of growth can be very good for the city (The Aurora Health Sciences Center), but the wrong kind of growth can strap resources and create urban-suburban blight.
Aurora's growth rate and patterns has attracted the nervous attention of other parts of the state that are concerned about the inherent lack of water in the region and what that means as far the need to buy, relocate and store more water rights and the impact on the other basins.
But what may be a surprise to some is that in 5 years of walking my district, the concern about the pace of growth (development, not people) has reached the Top 5 issues virtually every year.
The neighborhood activists notice a higher transition and turnover rate and relatively fewer services over time to support the existing neighborhoods in Aurora.
Realtors and homeowners concerned about protecting the values of their homes (usually a person's single largest investment) worry that supply of new homes have outpaced demand, driving down property values in Aurora.
The environmental community has been concerned about sprawl and the additional drive-time that means which increases pollutions.
Many residents just want to make sure that basic infrastructure keeps pace with the pace of development and growth to protect and improve our quality of life in Aurora: roads, parks, recreation, schools, police and fire services.
The City will be the first to tell you that they are facing a very serious budget shortfall (as is everyone else), but there is one group is not currently paying their fair share – DEVELOPERS.
I have been previously told that "growth pays its own way" in Aurora but dig a little deeper and one discovers that is not true. It appears that a prior developer impact fee went utterly uncollected which is hard to explain. Thankfully, City Council passed an ordinance collecting $1,204 in impact fees from the developers. Right idea, right direction.
Here's the problem the ACTUAL cost to the City for capital infrastructure according to a recent 2008 study is more like $5,100. To the extent we collect anything less than that from developers in impact fees, the citizens of Aurora are subsidizing developers are our deficit in relative terms of our budget versus need for services will flow further backward every year.
I am strongly in support of the citizen-led effort to increase the developer impact fee so they actually pay their fair share and I want to thank the other citizens and elected officials in Aurora who have given their support to righting this wrong. There are several petition circulators. If you want to sign a petition or circulate one, let me know email@example.com.
The developers will no doubt mobilize, heavily fund opposition and pay handsomely for an ad campaigns to try to convince the public that they will raise the cost of new houses and pass the costs on. Such a move would only reinforce the concern that developers are not willing to pay for their fair share despite claims to the contrary. Stay tuned on this one!
Printable Version of this Page
<< Next post ||
Previous post >>