GeoCarta Has Moved

Aug 16, 2005

Incentive or Extortion?

Today’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram has an article on a new development, The Sanctuary, in Flower Mound. The project, which consists of 89 homes by Toll Brothers, priced from $400,000, will be built on lots of about 1/3 f an acre. The land was originally zoned for 1 acre lots. The city agreed to the smaller lots in exchange for the developer agreeing to set aside 45 acres of the 98 acre project as open space. The open space will be managed by a land trust. In addition to the smaller lots, the city also waived some taxes and fees worth approximately $97,000.

While the article depicts the process of one where the city provided incentives for the development, it doesn't sound that way to me. This is an example of a city zoning property so restrictively that no economically feasible use can be made of the property. In order to develop the land, the property owner must accede to city demands for “open space”. Yet consider for a moment what would happen if the entire city were developed according to these "smart growth" regulations. Grocery stores, restaurants, medical offices, specialty shops, all look for one thing in deciding where to locate: rooftops. Such restrictive uses, spread across a large span of the city, would result in a community with such a low population density that it would be difficult for any of the city services most people take for granted, to locate anywhere near these types of neighborhoods.