Batsel: Smart Growth’s Unintended Consequences

Since the 1970’s when Jerry Brown was first governor, the policies of Sacramento has been to make it expensive to live in California, to use government schools as weapons against the future and use zooming laws to disrupt the lives of many.

“In El Dorado County, road funds are redirected to smart growth locations. Rural roads take the hit and decline as in Tahoe. Smart growth takes money! El Dorado County has impact fees that now average $70,000 per new dwelling. Transportation impact fees alone are over $30,000 per home. The fees are so expensive that families with children cannot afford to live here. In the Buckeye Unified School District, where most growth has occurred, 744 homes were built in seven years but the district lost 18 students in those years. “

While this specially written for the California Political news and Views newsletter is about the Tahoe area, everywhere in the State we have these problems. Now President Obama wants to FORCE communities like Lake Tahoe to build “affordable” housing—imagine the cost of real housing if this occurs? Enjoy Lake Tahoe while you can—in the future you will not be allowed to drive into or through Yosemite, the same is in store for Lake Tahoe.

Lake_Tahoe_NV

Smart Growth’s Unintended Consequences

 

Henry Batsel, Special to the California Political News and Views, 6/16/15   Refundfees.com
Lake Tahoe was the first smart growth community. In all actuality, it has proved to be a social experiment. Enough time has passed to review the outcomes of social impacts created from “smart growth” because other communities have embraced many of those same environmental goals.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) set goals to reduce auto use to draconian levels and shut down development – even building on one’s approved residential lot is near impossible. The middle class is all but gone from Lake Tahoe and some residential areas have deteriorated to slum levels. Now we see other consequences of growth regulation on local communities caught up in the smart growth movement.

The State of California instituted Smart Growth regulations to reduce green house gas emissions. These regulations have changed the way land is developed, not so much in major cities, but in rural communities. The regulations force development to be compact, close to transportation hubs, and promote walking and bicycling to jobs.  In rural counties, zoning rights are transferred to large tracts of lands closer to urban areas and taken from rural properties. The more distant properties are down zoned and face more restrictive regulations. The desired effect is to stop rural development and reduce auto use – stop urban sprawl.  Some say it’s to stop growth entirely – like Lake Tahoe. This sounds good to some that lived in the cities and retired to rural areas.

In El Dorado County, road funds are redirected to smart growth locations. Rural roads take the hit and decline as in Tahoe. Smart growth takes money! El Dorado County has impact fees that now average $70,000 per new dwelling. Transportation impact fees alone are over $30,000 per home. The fees are so expensive that families with children cannot afford to live here. In the Buckeye Unified School District, where most growth has occurred, 744 homes were built in seven years but the district lost 18 students in those years. Less children means less soccer, baseball, and child related activities which reduces auto trips. Collecting transportation impact fees has become problematic as auto trip counts have also declined – many auto trip counts locations are below 2003 levels. Highway 50 ramp counts are down 12,150 per day from 2003 levels (Cal Trans web site – EDC ramp counts).

The big problem is rural education. Smart Growth causes serious declines in student enrollments and activities. Many rural school enrollments are now below 2002 population levels. According to the Department of Education, Lake Tahoe Schools have lost several thousand students. The remainder of the rural county is also in decline with the ability to fund teachers and facilities in crisis mode. Camino School looks like a dive, parking lots are deteriorated, wires are hanging down the walls, and paint is peeling. Union agreements preclude local parents from even painting the school.

By 2024, the Department of Finance has forecast El Dorado County will lose another 5,661 students. The loss in students means the loss of teachers, funding for sports, music, field trips, and facilities upkeep. School impact fees are legislated to mitigate the impacts of growth. Many rural schools have lost close to half of their student population but still collect growth mitigation fees as funding desperation sets in. Locals are rebelling against the unjustified fees and have a web site with extensive back up data – it is called Refundfees.com .

The California Department of Finance forecast Placer and Sacramento counties will add almost one million new residents in the next 50 years. Next door, El Dorado County is forecast to only increase population by about 25,000 persons in the next 50 years. Businesses, schools, governments, retirees, employees, and investments all need growth to survive. Regulating growth, if instituted nationally, would be ruinous to our country’s economy and our social systems as we see its effects in Smart Growth El Dorado County.

Raising kids in a rural setting was once a goal for many young families. It sounds good but the environmental movement’s Smart Growth agenda has unintended consequences. Country living is under attack and the results are devastating to the roads, teachers, schools, and dreams of young families and their children. In El Dorado County, we sell this destructive agenda as “preserving the rural character”.

 

Henry Batsel

30 years of El Dorado County

 

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. Wayne Lusvardi says

    The water shortage accompanying the four year long dry spell in California has been worsened by Smart Growth by diverting population growth from water-sufficient inland counties to water-deficit coastal counties.

    See my The Real Green Paradox: Staying in City Reduces C02, but Importing Water is Unsustainable, Feb. 12, 2009 posted at

    Environmental and Urban Economics, Matthew Kahn, UCLA

    Link
    greeneconomics dot blogspot dot com/2009/02/interesting-e-mail-on-water-and dot html

  2. This organization has taken the position that this is an unreasonable position, and leads to greater congestion, and more dangerous conditions on the road for bicyclists. Why? Because as has been proven over multiple cities and locations unless forced by dictatorial government people will not give up the convenience and safety of automobiles. This creates on-street parking problems narrowing streets.

    As long as the State of California continues with RHNA, irresponsible destruction of traffic patterns, and refuses to repair what was once the finest road and highway system the worst of bad planning will destroy commerce and living conditions. We disagree with the idea this is unintended consequences. This was hatched by radicals in the environmental community over 40 years ago to take your right of free travel and ownership of vehicles.

    Irrational concept based upon faulty logic.

    Now go out and build a house on the beach sand below the high water mark.

  3. Anyone wanting to know if the water crisis and drought are for real needs to read the latest newsletter by this organization. The letter was written by Devin Nunes, conressman and is highly interesting to say the least. http://www.familiesprotectingthevalley.com/

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