The Planning Commission at Work

The Tee-Ball Approach to Development (and how to avoid it)

January 23rd, 2011
Article #559

Read an excerpt from this article below. You can download the full article by using the link at the end of the excerpt.

tee-ball playerIf you’ve been a parent, a grandparent, an aunt, or an uncle, no doubt you’ve been to a tee-ball game. The youngsters on each team can hardly sit still in the dugout, and the bleachers are full of family members eager to cheer on their budding sports heroes.

A pint-size batter steps up to the tee, winds up for the swing, and clips the ball, which rolls four or five feet towards the pitcher.

The crowd goes wild, cheering as the batter runs as fast as little legs will go … towards third base!

That’s how it sometimes goes with our local communities’ attempts at development. The community gets so excited about a proposed development that it can head off in the wrong direction –- without having the infrastructure needed to support the development.

Some examples:

  • A subdivision is approved in an area with lots too small for replacement septic drain fields and/or where the population density is too low to be feasibly served by public sewer.
  • An office park is platted in an area where water lines are too small to provide adequate fire protection.
  • A large retail/dining/lodging facility is proposed for an area where road capacity is already maxed out and there’s no land available for additional parking.

In other words, communities are commonly enticed by development for which the infrastructure is inadequate. This not only burdens the community, it also minimizes the long-term return on private investment. It’s just like a tee-ball player running the wrong direction.

Before we offer solutions on how to avoid unsustainable development, it makes sense to examine WHY this happens so frequently in communities. ...

End of excerpt

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