Save the Rural Area (Again!) on March 6

On March 6, the county supervisors are poised to decide on yet another attack against the urban growth boundary adopted in 1998.

A developer has requested a Comprehensive Plan Amendment for a subdivision in the Rural Area,.  According to the Generalized Development Plan, 108 118 houses could be constructed on a parcel planned for 32 homes.

Supervisor’s vote is reportedly scheduled for March 6, though that agenda item is not formally locked in yet.

The “Mid-County Park & Estate Homes” proposal is the third attempt to bust the Rural Area boundary at that site. The developer purchased the land in 2003, long after he knew the allowed density was for 32 homes.

You can make a nice profit building 32 homes on property bought with the land prices from 15 years ago. Evidently, a nice land speculation profit is not enough for some developers.  The county’s zoning on that parcel has been in place for two decades, but he dreams of even more, more, more houses.

Supervisors previously rejected amending the Comprehensive Plan at this site because adding 76 unplanned houses there would provide no public benefits. The private developer would get windfall benefits, while the public would get stuck with the costs of sprawl.

Sprawl is “dumb growth.” It ultimately increases property taxes, because it is more expensive to provide public services (fire/police stations, for example).

That’s why the supervisors adopted the Rural Area and Development Area boundaries in 1998. Voters were aroused by steadily increasing property taxes. The county’s population had boomed, and it was clear that focusing growth in the Development Area would minimize the costs to provide new public infrastructure.

Now the supervisors are being asked to change the course followed for the last 20 years, start allowing unplanned growth in the Rural Area, and eventually increase property taxes to support scattered development.

The “Mid-County Park & Estate Homes” development being considered on March 6 is not a proposal for a park. It’s a proposal to authorize unplanned houses, to trigger a surge of land speculation in the Rural Area, and to repeat the tax headache face by supervisors in 1998.

The supervisors should reject this development proposal – for the third time.




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