by Mel Griffith
Bradley County and the City of Cleveland are preparing a "strategic plan" for the next twenty five years. While much of this is good, if you are a property owner in Bradley County, beware, they may be planning restrictions on your property which will greatly reduce its value. At the present time, about 70% of development takes place outside the Cleveland urban area and 30% in and around Cleveland. It is natural for development to take place where there is room for it. The new plan proposes to disrupt the natural process of development and replace it with one more pleasing to the bureaucrats. They want to force 45% of development to take place in the Cleveland urban area and leave 55% in the county. This would enable Cleveland to collect more taxes. No one has explained how this can he achieved except by depriving property owners of their right to develop their property unless it is in a location favored by the bureaucrats. Guess where the favored few will happen to own property?
The plan is riddled with references to new regulations. Indeed, the resolution to fund development of more plans says "it will be necessary to make appropriate revisions to zoning and subdivision regulations." Most of our property rights have already been taken away by zoning. Look to this plan to take away most of what's left if it isn't stopped. While the plan mentions regulations over and over, it is always in the context of adding more, never taking away regulations that impede progress. The supposed reason for a host of new regulations is to permit government services to be provided better. As usual, the bureaucrats are looking at the picture upside and backwards and asking the wrong question. The question which should be asked when plans are made is, "How can government best serve the needs of the public?" Instead, this project asks the question "How can the public be forced to do what is best for the government?"
There are reasonable ways to guide growth in reasonable ways without trapping citizens in new regulations. One simple way to channel housing density in desired locations is by running sewers. The minimum lot size needed when sewer is available is only one-half of what is needed when septic tanks are used. Running a sewer doubles housing density without requiring any new regulations. Road improvements can also encourage developments in specific locations. Growth can be managed by either a carrot or a stick. All the talk of new regulations suggests that this plan relies heavily on the stick without much carrot.