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Growing pains

One of the growing pains in any area is the cost of adding new infrastructure. Building new homes requires new sidewalks, street lights, roads, utilities, and eventually new schools and shopping centers. All of these things cost money, and as more people move into an area, the cost seems to climb geometrically.

I have both built homes and lived in homes in a number of states, and the cost of improving infrastructure always ends up in a fight. Who will pay for it? The developer stand to make the most money from the whole thing. Of course, the developer gets to invest a huge chunk of change in order to bring the subdivision to life. She or he does expect a certain return on investment. The eventual home buyers will be the ones living in the property and utilizing all of the goodies that are the infrastructure. Although the buyers will more than likely pay monthly for the use of water and sewer facilities, and the like, they are still the ones deriving the most out of it. The city or county gets to charge the residents a nice little fee for the use their IS. Maybe the municipality should just go ahead and pay for the getting the water and sewer system installed.

The next question is how much IS to develop. Even if we are only building 100 homes right now, do we plan for 100 more next year, or do we simply wait until then to plan any add ons to the system? Does the municipality hire a professional planner to make these decisions or leave it to elected officials? Or, should the voters decide?

If you are planning to build or even buy a home in an area that you do not currently live in, do some research on these things. I have seen lovely little cities, where the city services cost $10 a month, up the price to $80 a month overnight. The reason for the huge increase can usually be found in improper planning. The biggest step in researching an area is to find read their master plan. This will be a rather lengthy paper describing what each neighborhood and parcel is destined to become. Read this.

Drive around the area. Take a look at what you don't see. I am not trying to be funny or mystical here, rather I am telling you to look for things you do not regularly look at. Go look at the sewer station, the electrical substation, and even the dump. Are there enough street lights? Check the street signs. The condition of the roads. Go to a public park. Taste the water. And last but not least, talk to existing residents.

Comment balloon 2 commentsKevin Robinson • October 12 2009 01:28PM

Comments

Hi again, Kevin....I enjoy your posts....part of growing is to experience some pain.....there are towns that try to stop growth because the schools are getting crowded, the roads are not wide enough, the congestion is worse than ever, etc....some towns attempt to put a moratorium in place on building (this usually results in a lawsuit with the builders)...then I've seen a moratorium on water service connection...this results in wells being drilled and the cost passed on to the consumer....infrastructure requirements have gone from 40' wide roads to 50' runways.....from sidewalks on one side of the street constructed of cape cod berm to concrete sidewalks on both sides with granite curbing.....I can go on an on....the cost to the builder continues to increase....the towns, in a good market, have done everything possible to stop growth....this ends up costing everyone more money, including the town saddled with legal fees for the multiple lawsuits.

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 9 years ago

Great point. It is not something that I have ever really thought about- Dinah Lee

Posted by Dinah Lee Griffey, Managing Broker Windermere Peninsula Properties (Windermere Peninsula Properties) over 9 years ago

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