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 Post subject: Emergence of Portland
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2005 11:33 am 
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Location: Portland! (and about time!)
Just to give you cause for attention if you find yourself creating a "where should league X expand" list and not include Portland.

http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=32264

Portland's freaky because of the unemployment rate, yet people keep moving in. The land use rules in the area artificially tend (or perhaps I should say tendED) to inflate housing and land prices within the urban growth boundary, but people keep moving in. Now that Measure 37 has kind of gutted the land use rules, it might even get crazier (pending a reaction to the passage of Measure 37). Even I'm dumbfounded by the growth of the place, frankly.


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 Post subject: Emergence of Portland
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2005 12:06 pm 
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Interesting article Pounder.

I wonder if Oregon allows local governments/the Metro Council to charge impact fees to developers constructing development? In other words, the developers pay a fee up front to fund the public infrastructure of the project before the actual construction of homes and non-residential development occurs.

The Local Improvement District is an interesting concept. I wonder if this means the people that buy homes are assessed an additional fee to finance the public improvements? It may have the same affect as the impact fees, in that its passed down from the developer to the owner, but the homebuyer would know they are paying for the infrastructure costs through an additional tax, and may not like it.

A lot of states don't allow local municipalities to do impact fees, where the developer pays for the public infrastructure costs. Michigan is about the worst in this regards. By constitution, the developer can develop a property or even a Wal Mart or a Meijer (Michigan Wal Marts) and generate tons of traffic, and the roads can stay two-lane as they were with no obligation to upgrade them. Sometimes the developer will enter into negotiations to handle these infrastructure costs, for goodwill purposes, but they are not obligated to. So we get big-box retailers generating tons of traffic on two-laned roads. Thats on top of the bad roads that Michigan has in the first place. But Michigan has determined that impact fees are unconstitutional according to the state's constitution. Its really probably the best way to handle public infrastructure costs as it directs costs to the development alone and not to all the tax payers in the community that are not near or close to the development but have to pay for the improvements, even though they don't get a direct benefit from the development, and the development could end up impacting their quality of life.


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 Post subject: Emergence of Portland
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2005 1:58 pm 
I thought M37 was recently ruled unconstitutional by a mid-level court?

Keep in mind, Pounder that Portland has a lot of desirable aspects within the "quality of life" criteria that people are apparently willing to pay for. Atlanta's unofficial motto among citizens is "It's a great place to live but I wouldn't want to visit there" due to the general absence of attractions. In my planner's opinion the urban growth boundaries applied in Oregon can't articficially inflate the land values anymore than regular land use control measures, and the increases in values/prices is largely due to the apparent popularity of environment being created. And the alternatives can be less appealing.

Georgia is another state that lacks concurrency laws for new development. Many communities are applying the Impact Fee system mentioned, but can only do so for a pre-defined shopping list of new improvements that relate directly to the development. Thus there is still a large lag between the arrival of new development and the ability of a community to provide the additional increase in school capacity, utilities, road maintenance, etc. By law communities must essentially provide the services for whatever comes, and the result is a morass of suburbia that leaves many outside visitors, and residents, wondering how we got the Olympics.

If I had the ability, I'd live in a city comparable to Portland or Seattle in the Appalachians so I'd remain closer to my family and other areas I love. Instead I'm slowly succombing to the mental, and monetary zombie-ism that has so many folks living in metro nowhere Atlanta and visiting all the places they wish Atlanta were more like. :-/


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 Post subject: Emergence of Portland
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2005 2:07 pm 
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Not sure about their edging sprawl on the perimeter of their urban core, but Chattanooga, TN is noted as a city that has cleaned up its smog and its inner core is doing quite well. There's a 1-mile long bridge over the Tennessee River that was rehabbed into a pedestrian bridge. The report on Chattanooga that I was hearing a decade ago was that this revived a neighborhood-downtown commercial district into a thriving commercial core, due to the pedestrians and bicyclist crossing and recreating on the bridge.


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 Post subject: Emergence of Portland
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2005 2:11 pm 
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Location: Portland! (and about time!)
Yaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!!

This ruling has been around for a week, and none of my left-leaning friends have bothered to gloat. WTF? At least this eases my mind some, though it's probably already too late for the incoming subdivision behind my parents' house.

http://www.katu.com/stories/80410.html

Well, this will go up the court chain, anyway.

I have to get back to metro on LIDs. I'll be in the Portland area this weekend and into next week, so I should get lots of impassioned, fluorescent answers to that set of questions. I tend to think that LIDs tax surrounding residents rather than developers, at least from what little I remember.


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 Post subject: Emergence of Portland
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2005 2:26 pm 
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Yes, Portland, OR is seen in most planning circles as the ideal of metro areas in the nation in terms of well-planned cities.

About 7 or 8 years ago, there was this video that I saw quite often on a community access channel here in Ann Arbor. It was sponsored by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). A former mayor of Seattle was the host/narrator of the video. They featured three American Cities on well-planned/vital cities/metro areas. They were:

*Portland, OR metro area;
*Susuin (sp?) City, CA (inland CA near the Bay Area); and
*Chattanooga, TN (for cleaning up smog, the bridge over the Tennessee River, and for intergrating community-participation from a broad sectors of the population into the rebirth of the city).

The Local Improvement Districts sound like what they have here, but are hardly ever used -- Special Assessment Districts. If they are the same, the one here in Michigan the local residents of the homes and businesses have a special assessment on their tax bills to pay for infrastructure improvements. I don't think its popular, as I don't think property owners like having a larger tax bill than their neighbors and friends across town.

It might work in other places like Portland though.

Yep, you're right on the Schools and the impacts on that infrastructure GunnerFan. For the most part, they are quite impacted, but their quality could also be what spurs the development to come in their direction. As some school districts decline in quality or percieved to decline in quality in the inner cities and older suburbs, and ones in suburban and exurban areas have percieved or appropriately higher quality, there is one significant contributor to the intra-metropolitan growth in the newer suburbs.


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