Send a letter: Require Full Disclosure of the Costs of Growth
Citizens should be given clear information about the financial, environmental and social costs of growth.
While AGO is currently focusing its efforts on SDC legislation, we hope to introduce the Growth Impacts Disclosure Act in the 2005 Legislative Session. This would require local jurisdictions to notify citizens of the impacts of a proposed development.
The Growth Impacts Disclosure Act would prohibit local jurisdictions from expanding an urban growth boundary, annexing land into a city, or extending city services to open space. It would also prohibit increasing housing densities or adopting minimum density requirements on residential land until a development impact statement was prepared.
The Growth Impacts Disclosure Act would require the jurisdiction to provide notice to affected households and to prepare a development impact statement on the costs and impacts of increasing housing densities and sprawl on:
- existing traffic patterns;
- traffic congestion;
- commute times;
- air quality;
- availability of land for parks and open spaces;
- adequacy of fire, ambulance and police protection with special attention to cost increases;
- adequacy of existing infrastructure for streets, water, and sewers with special attention to cost increases;
- increases of teacher/student ratios;
- adequacy of existing school facilities;
- fish and wildlife;
- water quantity and quality; and
In addition, the Act would require the development impact statement to be made available to the public and prepared in an understandable manner. Even though AGO will not focus on this legislation until 2005, letters to the editor of local papers and to influential leaders help educate the public and build momentum for the next round of legislation.
Select the text of the letter in the shaded area below, then copy and paste it into your email. Add a personal touch by inserting your own sentences or statements after you've pasted it into your email!
Send to Editor
XYZ Local Paper
I am writing to share my thoughts with you regarding growth in our town and the importance of requiring new development to disclose its true costs to the community.
In order for cities to accurately forecast, and in order for residents of communities to have a full understanding of the impacts of proposed development projects in their community, it is imperative that such communities have detailed studies for all major development proposals.
Such studies should include information on traffic impact, financial impact, environmental impact, population and housing impact, schools impact, public facilities and utilities impact and a cost-benefit analysis. In addition, these studies, or analyses, should include a compilation of the cumulative impacts of the proposed project along with all other recently completed, current and proposed major projects.
Cities and towns throughout Oregon, including ours, are experiencing significant problems with traffic congestion, overcrowded schools and declining amounts of local open space and natural areas due to increasing development. This idea would provide invaluable assistance to city governments and residents in determining future community requirements and how to meet those requirements.
A recent report prepared for the League of Oregon Cities clearly documents that increased population and development have placed greater demands on cities to provide service to existing residents and new infrastructure to accommodate growth. Cities throughout the state are experiencing deterioration of their financial health as a direct result and are becoming increasingly unable to provide current levels of service.
A study of the true costs of a new development would allow communities to become proactive in making decisions regarding growth. Rather than speculating, or worse yet, not even thinking about the impacts of a proposed development project, these studies would provide the details needed for a community to make informed decisions regarding proposed developments based upon solid data.
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