“The unplanned sprawl has destroyed our city for years.”

On August 30, Governor David Paterson signed the Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Policy Act, giving Assemblyman Sam Hoyt an important victory in his longstanding fight against urban sprawl.  Since he was first elected 18 years ago, Hoyt has been an advocate of smart growth.  “The unplanned sprawl has destroyed our city for years,” Hoyt said.  “Not just our city, but all upstate cities.”  

The concept of smart growth revolves around investing in existing infrastructure, especially in the downtown areas, rather than pouring money into building new infrastructure, such as sewers, roads, bridges, utilities and school districts.  “Whenever you build a new subdivision, you then have to maintain the infrastructure, and it costs the taxpayers a lot of money,” Hoyt said.  “My goal is that we will, as a community, recognize that strengthening the city and downtown neighborhoods is good for everybody, and when we do that we will also reduce taxes and keep our costs down.”

Hoyt also believes that investing resources in the city and downtown neighborhoods will aid in protecting the environment.  He pointed out that sprawl is often associated with economic and population growth.  However, continued construction leads to the infiltration of rural areas.  By containing urban sprawl and building inward, more green space will be kept open and wildlife will be protected.

The smart growth initiative will kick start a multiyear transformation in investment and development decisions.  From now on, all projects will have to undergo a smart growth witness test.  The state agencies involved in funding them will have to ensure that the plans are consistent with smart growth principles and will focus on developed areas.  This will include commitments by the state Department of Transportation, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Department of Education, and the Empire State Development Corporation.  

Although it may take time to witness significant change, advocates like Sam Hoyt believe it will encourage more strategic planning and revitalize the downtown areas of Buffalo and other cities in New York State.  “We need to transform the thinking of people in this community,” Hoyt said.  “A strong urban core will make a strong region.”

About the author  ⁄ bluedevil

110 comments
Pegger
Pegger

Urban sprawl happened everywhere after WWII for many reasons. GI loans had a lot to do with it as veterans had families. Specifically, Buffalo was overcrowded, dirty, and impacted by growth. Many homes (as I recall) housed more than one generation. A very high density city.

The suburbs were touted as better environments for families. So, people moved out. My family moved north. I am of an age to remember what it was like in Buffalo in its heyday when vacancies were almost non-existant.

That was the perception and for many the reality of living a better life. The burbs were better and desirable. There is no mystery here.

bung
bung

We need a new Walmart

bung
bung

Growth,

1) Developers buy large tracts of wetlands

2) Sues the town till he get what he wants ( change in zoning from wetlands to residential)

3) Town that is GA GA over development bows down to developers

4) Twenty years later homes start sinking into the swamp that was always there

5) Taxpayer stuck with the bill

6) Not Smart Growth

The Kettle
The Kettle

Reggi-Q>"What is both GOOD and RIGHT is not for development to shift where you believe it will be best suited, but where an individual can choose to live where is best for them."

In a perfect world that would be great. The problem is taxpayer financed individual choice is for a large house on a multi-acre lot is having a negative impact on the air we breathe, the water we drink, the ability to produce food, older neighborhoods, marginalized people, and so on...

Ideally smart growth puts the cost of the sprawl on those who choose to live that way. If people have to add the cost of roads, sewer etc to their farmland patio home, there will be less people less people to "choose" this lifestyle because it will be cost prohibitive.

As far as "shifting development to where (I) feel it will be best suited", you have to weigh somebody's "choice" against the negative impacts to the community that that choice will lead to. This is a free country but it isn't anarchy.

This is not 'nam this is planning there are rules.

LJPShow
LJPShow

Wow...I drive through Amherst a lot. It is a complete mess. Sheridan Drive is absolutely terrible. Weeds, empty strip malls, massive parking lots. And really what is there to do in Amherst? I will stick to the city. It's got museums, parks, actual architecture and a better night life. I find it very sad they keep building out around the 990. Seeing the trees come down and concrete put in its place is very disturbing and I really can't seem to grasp anyone who supports this. Only thing that's good about Amherst is the 290...which means I can drive right through it. :)

The Kettle
The Kettle

Well though and written. Seriously, I thought you were just about put downs and one liners.

I still disagree with you on how the issue of sprawl ought to be addressed.

Reggi-Q> "Or you eliminate ALL market distortions, including this 'smart growth' bull, and allow citizens the right to live where and how they want, so long as they pay for it. The money that the state saves in all of this could be put towards fixing the BPS"

Is this realistic especially in the scope of state government? Keep in mind many "market distortions" are in place to compensate for market failures. Policy decisions that have led to sprawl (FHA, IHA, homeowner tax credits, F Mae-Mac etc) were enacted to create jobs, build personal wealth, and thin out overcrowded "slums". So while they may have solved a few problems (debatable) they have led to others (sprawl).

Now if you are Hoyt, or any other member of the State Assembly or Senate, and are tasked with doing something about the issue of sprawl, do you "eliminate all market distortions" related to the housing market? That is out of his range of duties since these are mostly federal programs. Even they were within his jurisdiction, pulling the plug on all government sprawl subsidies at once would be impossible without serious problems. It would have a catastrophic effect on the countless neighborhoods built since WWII designed for mass homeownership. If you take the ability to buy a home away from the masses you will suddenly have vast quantities of single family home filled, single use zoned neighborhoods where nobody can afford to live. Many of those residents will have to live where they can (overcrowding or "Hoovervilles") while those that remain live in an abandoned ghost town (much like prewar cities with "obsoletete housing). The middle class would become part of the "have-nots" overnight. That kind of widespread disaster could lead to armed revolution.

Or you could recognize that sprawl is a product of decisions you have little control over and enact state legislation that deals with the problem realistically. People can still enjoy their yard and picket fence only they will enjoy less traffic, less pollution, a healthier city, and lower taxes.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

It is not the middle class that is benefiting from the mortgage interest deduction, see my original post for clarification. On a 50k mortgage at say 8% the deduction is worth about 3k. At a tax rate of say 10% that is worth about $300, chump change.

Crisa
Crisa

About sprawl (so as to stay on topic): Those who have been paying everyone's way, the working classes and those of retirement age, are dwindling.

The 'way' that the above mentioned have paved has made it easy for an enormous underclass of non-achievers to spread; those underachievers are the ones who are sprawling just the same as a wildfire "sprawls".

Very many of the working class and retirees in WNY have young people who come out of college and have to take low-paying jobs to have any kind of income. Low pay does not pay a mortgage. HOUSEowners know that.

Seriously, trying to solve Buffalo's problems won't work using patterns that have disolved.

Most interestingly, along with jobs that involve caring for the "poor" (and also the elderly, as long as the elderly can still afford it on their own dime, or as the elderly are forced into poverty) will grow.

Jobs in veterinary/(poochie) services will thrive! While many networking, software and data services will continue to go out-of-country.

Meanwhile, does anyone notice how many roofs everywhere need to be replaced? If any city, town, village or hamlet DOES manage to preserve existing housing stock, that's a job that needs to be placed on every official list of future "supply and demand"!

First, second, third mortgages, tuition payback; I am touching lightly here. EVERY still functioning large institution is aiming for rhyme and reason and not finding any.

Sprawl is moot. The Buffalo we have today will not resemble the Buffalo of the future.

Sally
Sally

Treu enough, most problems can be solved by raising taxes on the middle class.

ReginaldQMerriweatherIV
ReginaldQMerriweatherIV

This issue is black and white. You either push for a solution that involves more market distortions which have led to such undesirable outcomes such as the 33, 198, and UB in Amherst. Because, in spite of what you say, it is top down control. "When the government has the power to control and regulate private business, it's in a position to dispense economic favors."

Or you eliminate ALL market distortions, including this 'smart growth' bull, and allow citizens the right to live where and how they want, so long as they pay for it. The money that the state saves in all of this could be put towards fixing the BPS (lets be honest, the current state of Buffalo Schools is the largest subsidy the suburbs need.)

What is both GOOD and RIGHT is not for development to shift where you believe it will be best suited, but where an individual can choose to live where is best for them. I find it best to live in the city, it suits me. Other think different, c'est la vie, so long as those individuals have to pay for their choices fully. To do that, all subsidies need to be eliminated. You do that, and development will naturally take on a smaller, denser scale closer to where things are already developed. It would be like smart growth, except it would happen organically, and Sam Hoyt wouldn't be able to use it as an issue to get away with sitting and spinning on a lollipop his other 18 years in office.

Pegger
Pegger

I am happily a member of AARP. I had no idea Bill O' sees it as a liberal organization.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

Or just done away with and that 110 Billion invested in the communities in need instead of enabling sprawl.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

Can't argue with that refers to your comments about the importance of education, this thread is jumbling the comments.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

EZ form? that's clever, I have 30 years working in facilities and engineering and I pay more than my fair share of taxes. I was brought up to live within my means and pay my own way. I purchased my condemned house and spent 50K of my own money to restore it, no tax breaks, credits, or schemes involved.

Why do you defend a program that clearly distributes wealth upwards? Do a little research and you will find my original post to be accurate.

The Kettle
The Kettle

Whatever>"It sounds like some of you guys want to scapegoat some unnamed demons. I've seen your side imply you're not blaming inner-ring burbs like Amherst of Cheektowaga for anything, then when outer-ring burbs are mentioned you don't like that either."

"Red herring" as you would say. It is an inaccurate oversimplification to fault one or a group of towns for the region's sprawl issues. The Clarence article just illustrates how sprawl negatively impacts places that seemingly benefit from sprawl.

Whatever>" It's fine when local town or city governments decide about development and zoning, such as what you linked about Clarence. That's how it should be. But that isn't what Assembly Member Buffalo-is-Destroyed is advocating.

Not every town is as responsible with land use. Those that are not drain resources from the rest of the region for their short term benefit. From what I have read so far, the devil himself (Sam Hoyt) just wants to withhold funding from towns that don't enact Clarence like land use regulations. Places that refuse are free to do as they please but they will have to fund their road and utility work themselves. Pretty reasonable if you ask me.

Whatever>" The 70% was in response to your complaint to Sally about where public infrastructure spending occurs. I said it's reasonable if state and local spending occurs where the taxpayers are.

Nice try. Most sprawl infrastructure is being built in very small portions of the county and region where newer developments are being built. 70% of EC residents live outside the city but a far smaller percentage live in the "growth" belt between Transit and farmland. Your oft repeated 70-30% thing and the above Lancaster-Clarence vs Buffalo reference seem more like a lame attempt to turn this discussion about a regional problem into a city vs suburbs debate. Another "red herring".

sho'nuff
sho'nuff

If you are part of the 65% of Americans who are not claiming the home ownership deduction because you want to file the EZ form, than that is your fault for leaving money on the table.

But hey, while we are at it, let's cancel the first time home buyer tax credits, real estate tax credits, depreciation tax credits, rehabilitation tax credits, deduction of points paid, and all other real estate related tax incentives because they offer favorable benefits to those who own property.

Seriously, why do you have so much animosity and resentment for those with money and those who own property.

Do you claim any tax incentives on your homes?

The Kettle
The Kettle

Reggi-q> "He didn't choose his words poorly, he was very specific.

He either thinks that this sprawl was unplanned (and ignores the facts) or his is misrepresenting the facts in order to hype his preferred solution (top-down control)."

So this issue is that black and white? Are you saying there can be only two options, one is build what you want, wherever you want and two is all development has to go through a "top down" model where any and all decisions have to begin and end at the desks of god hating, flag burning, baby eating, politically liberal state bureaucrats? No in between such as common sense state restrictions on locally designed projects?

There is nothing I have read in the article that said Hoyt or Patterson are proposing anything close to "top down control".

What the article does say is that if localities expect state funding, development will have to adhere to "smart growth principals" (which i suspect will be pretty tame as the sprawl profiteer lobby will no doubt have some say in the matter). That means towns and developers are free to proceed with business as usual "dumb growth" they just will no longer be entitled to state funded road improvements, utility work, etc.

That is a far cry from "top down control".

Reggi-Q>"And I believe that Sam Hoyt is trying to use this issue to drive home legislation that will ultimately harm the region by increasing the barriers to entry to development."

What good is "development" if it shifts residents from within a region, wastes land and natural resources, and the biggie, requires massive taxpayer subsidies?

You have to see the hypocrisy in railing against inner city development subsidies but cheering on larger subsidy programs that drive sprawl don't you? I guess all of that concern for the costs of public debt in the historic tax credit section was all bullcrap then.

orlanmon
orlanmon

armyof100clowns :

" Until we, the people, choose to change the course of the ship by supporting legislature that encourages a unified plan of action, the heart of the region – the City of Buffalo – will continue to die and the rest of the body of WNY will be gobbled up and eventually spit out by the cancerous monster called sprawl."

Couldn't of said it any better; kudos!

Billo
Billo

How many of those 10,000 jobs lost were manufacturing? Amherst never had much in manufacturing, so it's hard to lose jobs when you never had them to begin with. If Amherst is so great, why didn't First Niagara (which is actually based in WNY unlike HSBC) move its headquarters there instead of downtown Buffalo? Enjoy living on that flood plain and using your drive-thrus ;)

Crisa
Crisa

I read most all of the 81 comments.

Ohmygoodness, armyof100clowns (comment #81)! My dad used to tell the same stories of the same location as your dad! For myself, its scary to know that in my own lifetime, what used to be rural became semi-urban in such a short time; just one person's (mine) childhood to young adulthood memories.

And now, those burbs are going up for grabs.

"Sprawl" is a dead issue.

"Losing population" is a lie.

Downtown Buffalo already is not the hub it once was and there is no going back.

The TRUE VALUE of a house is only what it COST TO BUILD IT. There was a time, now finished with, when a house built for $20,000 sold for $90,000 and most recently reached as high as $120,000. The raising of price, coinciding with the rises in income, are now over with.

Taxpayers (those AARP people in the above picture) are actually the last of the taxpaying breed. (Taxpayers also tend to be live-in homeowners, making live-in homeowners a fading breed.)

Nowadays, a house that is fifty years old (built for $20,000) is an old house that will be selling for its TRUE VALUE, if that. (Every city, town, village and even the most rural hamlet has them.)

Nowadays, the buyers of those houses, both city and suburbs, are absentees. Absentees rent to tenants. Tenants, for the too most part, have no interest in ownership. Those tenants, also known as transient tenants, are responsible for a rapid and non-stop growth in population.

Just one way that growing transient population will be spreading into suburban and rural areas is through what State funding, big box stores and public transportation have in common. And, no, it no longer is about funding more buses so suburbanites can get INTO the city.

And, the kind of college education that WILL lead to a paying job better than taking out a tuition loan then becoming a clerk in a store, is a government job involved in taking good care of those transients.

(Doesn't BRis have a filter for "damn", "shit" and "ass" anymore?)

whatever
whatever

DTK, where in that Brookings report does it say metro Buffalo has high sprawl compared to U.S. averages? I see it mention Buffalo a lot, but I don't notice it saying that at all - not even on pg 5 you cited. I wonder if you and pitbull and Hoyt are all using the same definition of sprawl. Are you saying sprawl is the same thing as suburbanization? They aren't.

DTK>"It's not about bigger houses, yards, etc"

Anyone can say it's "about" any aspect they want to focus on.

But earlier you complained about Buffalo's urban footprint being triple what it was back in 1950 when the city's population was near 600,000.

Many of those 600K must have lived in much smaller houses and lot sizes than what's average today in Erie County. In that context and time frame, I think the bigger houses and yards were some of the major factors in the footprint growing.

JohnQBuffalo
JohnQBuffalo

or Blackrocklifer the home deduction could be restricted within a metro area and restricted to the average cost of a residence.

This would be a powerful tool to get people to pay the full cost of sprawl and to provide incentives for people to live in higher density urban/suburban areas that already pre-exist.

sho'nuff
sho'nuff

Maybe we should take a look at the anti-sprawl, reuse of existing infrastructure argument at the national level.

Maybe the answer for the country is to stop allowing growth and development in the southeast and southwest states at the expense of the midwest and northeast "rust belt" states.

If we are serious about sprawl at the local level, then maybe we should begin to look at it from a national level, after all those people who leave Buffalo each year leave behind unused infrastructure, vacant houses, underutilizde roads, etc. Maybe the answer is to stop all suburban and urban development in places where people want to live in the south and southwest, and let them remain where they are.

sho'nuff
sho'nuff

There is a 8% - 10% drop-out rate of high school seniors per year, or about 1000 students each year. That is 1000 students who are making a choice for a less advantaged life, when compared to their peers.

More background from the article on the implications of dropping out of High Scool:

Dropping out of school is also linked with many other negative outcomes such as increased chances of unemployment or completely dropping out of the workforce, lower rates of marriage, increased incidence of divorce and births outside marriage, increased involvement with the welfare and legal systems, and even poor health. All these outcomes are costly not only to dropouts personally, but also to society. Prison costs, for example, are among the most rapidly growing items in nearly every state budget, and more than two-thirds of state prison inmates are school dropouts, though many obtain a General Educational Development (GED) credential while in prison. Similarly, in 2006, 67 percent of all births to young dropouts were outside marriage, compared with 10 percent of births for women with a master’s degree. Because families with children born outside marriage are five or six times more likely to live in poverty than married-couple families, it follows that they are also more likely to be on welfare. In both these examples, dropping out is linked with social problems that impose large public costs on the nation. (from the Brookings article).

ReginaldQMerriweatherIV
ReginaldQMerriweatherIV

He didn't choose his words poorly, he was very specific.

He either thinks that this sprawl was unplanned (and ignores the facts) or his is misrepresenting the facts in order to hype his preferred solution (top-down control).

Which is it. Because I'd like to " see some checks to prevent a shortsighted developer, POLITICIAN, or consumer from negatively impacting the region for the rest of us." (Citation: iluvpitbulls) And I believe that Sam Hoyt is trying to use this issue to drive home legislation that will ultimately harm the region by increasing the barriers to entry to development.

whatever
whatever

pit, I named two outer-ring burbs that don't border the city and you still complained. It sounds like some of you guys want to scapegoat some unnamed demons. I've seen your side imply you're not blaming inner-ring burbs like Amherst of Cheektowaga for anything, then when outer-ring burbs are mentioned you don't like that either.

Anyway, it's a step in the right direction if you agree that Clarence and Lancaster aren't to blame for any of Buffalo's problems.

pit>"Take Clarence for example which fought a recent subdivision"

It's fine when local town or city governments decide about development and zoning, such as what you linked about Clarence. That's how it should be. But that isn't what Assembly Member Buffalo-is-Destroyed is advocating.

pit>"that city folks are against sprawl and all 70% of county residents are for it,"

That isn't even close to what I said. I never said all suburbanites favor every development. The 70% was in response to your complaint to Sally about where public infrastructure spending occurs. I said it's reasonable if state and local spending occurs where the taxpayers are. Yeah the 70% of county population includes both inner and outer rings. Anyone could look at the portions in more detail if they want to.

sho'nuff
sho'nuff

I am not saying the the poor choose to be poor, but I do believe that poverty may be caused by, or correlated to, decisions in a persons life.

Let's look at one example, According to a Brookings Institute article*, the average American HS drops out earns an average of $15,700 per year less than adults with a high school degee, according to 1965 - 2005 Census data. The drop out will earn an average of $35,000 less per year than those with a two year degree.

This will result in a difference of over $700,000 in earnings over a 45 year period for the high school graduate over the high school drop out.

This is one of the reasons that Barack Obama's administration has such a heavy focus on school performance and lowering the drop out rate, especially for minorities and inner city populations.

Dropping out of high school is a choice with significant consequences that too many students are making without fully considering the long-term ramifications of their decisions. This, in effect, is a choice that someone is making for a disadvantaged life. The facts are there, granted there are many reasons to drop out of school, but doing so has consequences.

*http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2010/0427_helping_dropouts_haskins.aspx

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

Repeal of the mortgage interest deduction would be a first step to limit sprawl. The deduction will cost us 110 Billion in 2010 with 1/2 (55 Billion) claimed by just 10% of taxpayers making over 100K per year. The deduction is not available to 65% of Americans that file using the standard deduction and is of little value to those below 50K per year (4% take advantage) or those making 50K-100K per year (22% take advantage).

Originally the deduction was intended to increase the level of home ownwership but other countries have equal or better rates without this deduction negating this claim. Time to stop enabling the wealthiest among us with this giveaway and use those lost dollars to improve the situation for the other 90% of Americans.

armyof100clowns
armyof100clowns

Are you ready for some commentary from the sticks?

My family has lived in the (once) rural area of West Falls and Colden since coming to the United States in the early 20’s (paternal side) and 50’s (maternal side). My father used to tell me stories about the areas on Transit now buried under parking and empty concrete boxes that were home to family farms and wooded spaces. He warned me that someday even the home he and I grew up in would succumb to this mindless expansion. I didn’t believe him. How could our road, which saw more traffic in the summer in the form of tractors than anything else, be turned into a multilane high speed route?

As a teen I started to see the old farmers die off and their families, no longer interested in that life, sell off the property. Some remained farms, but more oft than not, the land was subdivided into smaller “country” plots or, even worse, subdivisions. Soon our country road was no longer good enough for those that wanted to get from here to there at a desired speed. The road was widened and the speed increased from 35 miles per hour to 55. My childhood home was now mere feet from a speedway.

The farms that remained have suffered. Neighbors, who willfully sought the pastoral life of the country, found that tractors are loud and slow and manure stinks. Laws (and the subsequent dollars expended to get them passed) had to be erected to protect farmers and their livelihood – but even these have proved too weak. The farms continue to be swallowed.

As a child of the boonies on the doorstep of the Queen City, I have always admired what it represented. Being an architecture junky, going in and walking about its neighborhoods and visiting its beautiful parks was always a treat. Being a lover of the arts and music, visiting the galleries and being a loyal customer of its shops (oh, Home of the Hits how I so miss you) became a ritual. I am torn. The thing is, I am of this soil out here and I always will be.

The small towns, their way of life, and the culture that developed in them are at peril just like the city. Uncontrolled greed, materialism, and just plain ignorance to the waste of sprawl (so aptly described in other posts) have ruined this area. I do not damn people for seeking what makes them happy and I know that change is inevitable, but we need to do this with intelligence and unity. Being the polar opposite of an area like the DC/Baltimore corridor, we do not have the nearly limitless wealth or economic growth to sustain this expansion. We need to have a unified plan. We need to recognize that sprawl is not beneficial to ANYONE – urban, suburban, or rural resident.

I have always loved the City of Buffalo and Western New York. There is something in this area that never gets out of your system no matter how far away you go or for how long. I was away for nearly 10 years, but, as I started to have a family of my own, I was drawn back here. Experience has shown me that this area, as jacked up as so many things are, affords a certain lifestyle and attitude I found lacking elsewhere. It’s disheartening there is such a long history of neglect here that it has almost become cultural to throw one’s hands up in the air in disgust and then point fingers at each other.

The unmitigated hate that seems to be sprinkled (more oft poured) in people’s posts concerning the artificial division of city and suburb/elsewhere makes me want to shit. In fact, I wipe my ass with the whole nonsensical affair. There is no agenda or conspiracy on either side of city lines (at least not one that involves 99% of the people in those areas as participants). Until we, the people, choose to change the course of the ship by supporting legislature that encourages a unified plan of action, the heart of the region – the City of Buffalo – will continue to die and the rest of the body of WNY will be gobbled up and eventually spit out by the cancerous monster called sprawl.

This is great news. It may not be a silver bullet or the absolute cure, but it is a step in the right direction. Other cities and regions which have adopted similar programs/legislature have reaped the benefits (it often takes years, if not decades).

Now we need to encourage industry and businesses to move back to the City and WNY . . . how to do that is anyone’s guess.

Sally
Sally

In that case it is Buffalo that should be on the short end of the stick as

orlanmon
orlanmon

NY Adopting Smart Growth is a great idea. Erie county should also wake up and follow in the New York's footsteps.

JohnQBuffalo
JohnQBuffalo

You cant have neighborhood schools as long as the government mandates integration based on race and ethnicity.

Neighborhood schools are expensive and their not viable as long as teachers unions want all excess monies allocated to their contracts and benefits or as long as school administrators want so called magnet schools focused on a specific mission like arts or sciences.

The US pays the highest school taxes in the world, spends the most per pupil in education in the world and achieves the same level of education as 2nd and 3rd world nations. Does this make sense to you?

JSmith
JSmith

I don't know the details of the Clarence master plan, but that "50% green space" requirement sounds like a recipe for even more sprawl. Requiring a lot of private green space on each property just spreads things around that much further. And you don't even get the benefits of "green space" that a publicly-accessible park would give you.

My personal opinion is that if Clarence was really serious about "smart growth" they would plan all new development to be built as extensions of the existing Clarence Center street grid, gradually making the town center larger but still compact and walkable. Green space would be retained as forest and farmland surrounding the town.

The Kettle
The Kettle

Whatever>"Is the point that you guys hate Clarence and Lancaster more than you love Buffalo?"

Your repeated attempts to portray this as a simple city vs burb issue may have more to do with "hate" than those of us advocating more efficient land use. The reality of the situation is that many people in the burbs have grown tired of having their tax dollars spent in such a frivolous and destructive manner.

Take Clarence for example which fought a recent subdivision for over six years.

http://www.allbusiness.com/government/government-bodies-offices-regional/14827603-1.html

page 2>"After a big growth spurt in the 1990s, a backlash by the locals ushered in a new slow-growth majority on the Town Board around 2003. About then, the Rubinos submitted concept plans for a bigger, traditional home subdivision. But before the proposal could go far, the Town Board imposed an 18-month moratorium on new homes.

It emerged with a controlled- growth master plan with a preference for "open space" designs in which the homes are built in clusters surrounded by green space that can total 50 percent of the acreage involved."

If things were as simple as you say, that city folks are against sprawl and all 70% of county residents are for it, why would the town enact a smart growth influenced master plan and put up a six year fight to this development?

The Kettle
The Kettle

Whatever>"I'm still surprised none of you are offended about a prominent person like Hoyt proclaiming to the media that Buffalo is "destroyed"."

Yes it does sound offensive when you literally interpret the word "destroyed" from someone who was obviously speaking metaphorically. It would have really surprised you if he said something like "I feel like a million bucks". How is it possible for someone to feel like a pile of money?

I find it surprising that all of you guys who made such a stink over the evils of subsidies in the historic tax credit discussions are virtually unanimous in their support of sprawl subsidies in this thread.

For example the guy posting as "Reggi-Q" made an insightful case against the tax credits based on the cost of financing the debt to cover the eventual budget shortfall. Yet he hasn't made mention of the costs associated with borrowing money to pay for multi-million dollar road and utility projects or tax credits and credit market manipulation that are needed for sprawl development.

Some display an interesting contradiction that subsidies are somehow okay to guide development that they are comfortable with but are unacceptable when directed toward cities and older burbs.

bung
bung

A single family home needs to be assessed at least $150,000.00 to fully cover survives it uses. Water line, sewer line, street and maintaince… You keep building homes without population growth you depress home prices, requiring more tax dollars, State and federal (still your tax dollars) to subsidize the unsustainable growth. Source for the $150,000.00 was said by the mayor of Lockport. The only politician I have ever heard to come out and say something like that. Like him or not. Seven lane intersections (Main and Transit or Wehrle) they didn’t show up there for free.

DTK2OD
DTK2OD

"It's interesting that Buffalo is in the 20% least sprawled areas. Sure, compared to 60 years ago in 1950 things are much more spread out. Not everybody wants to live in a higher density area, and economic growth has made possible bigger houses, yards, etc."

It's not about bigger houses, yards, etc. It's about the abandonment and the evisceration of our urban neighborhoods in favor of a heavily subsidized suburban alternative that decades later is proving to be an unsustainable model of development. When four homes are built for every additional household it's no wonder that the City of Buffalo and it's first ring suburbs have tens of thousands of vacant and dilapidated homes.

Page 5: http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/reports/2003/12metropolitanpolicy_bier/20031205_Bier.pdf

"But according to that objective analysis by an anti-sprawl organization Buffalo has relatively little sprawl."

According to this objective analysis by a nonpartisan think tank it seems that Buffalo is the very definition of sprawl...

LouisTully
LouisTully

I feel like I'm on some web page searching for the magical, hidden link that brings up "the finger". Someones gotta come up with a better way to display replies.

whatever
whatever

Regardless of what he says is causing it, I'm still surprised none of you are offended about a prominent person like Hoyt proclaiming to the media that Buffalo is "destroyed". Many of you complain when Forbes magazine says something like Buffalo is dead or destroyed.

What message is it to expats considering moving back? Who wants to move back to a place someone as perceptive as Hoyt says is destroyed?

Far fetched as it may be, what if some company is considering moving jobs to here because of historic tax credits - what will they think when they see one of our best and brightest saying Buffalo is destroyed?

Is the point that you guys hate Clarence and Lancaster more than you love Buffalo? So announcing to the world that Buffalo is destroyed is fine as long as it's said in a way that's dogging our neighbors who live a few miles away from the city?

whatever
whatever

DTK>"Many of those metros have experience explosive growth over the past couple decades..."

Some yes, some no. That 80% of U.S. metros more sprawled than Buffalo includes some growing population areas (like Raleigh, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Columbus) and some that are shrinking (like Detroit, Rochester, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Syracuse).

Again, they accounted for population.

It's interesting that Buffalo is in the 20% least sprawled areas. Sure, compared to 60 years ago in 1950 things are much more spread out. Not everybody wants to live in a higher density area, and economic growth has made possible bigger houses, yards, etc.

But according to that objective analysis by an anti-sprawl organization Buffalo has relatively little sprawl.

For Hoyt to single out sprawl as something that "destroyed" Buffalo when it's happened so much less here than most places sounds like campaign pandering to urban dwellers and scapegoating suburbanites.

DTK2OD
DTK2OD

Many of those metros have experience explosive growth over the past couple decades while the Buffalo-Niagara MSA population has remained relatively stagnant.

With that in mind, a much cited local study has revealed that the overall urbanized footprint of the Buffalo-Niagara region has tripled between 1950 and 2000. Though one explanation often given by politicians, homebuilders, and developers is that this is in response to a shift in demographics (smaller nuclear families) the number of new housing units built still exceeds the creation of new households by a very large margin. (i.e. sprawl)

I think it's time for a NYS constitutional convention.

distas
distas

Alot of people move to the suburbs simply for better schools......bring back NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS and youll bring back families!!!

JohnQBuffalo
JohnQBuffalo

Look Buffalo was strong when the entire metro population was within the city limits, then people started to flee to lower tax suburbs initially Kenmore, Lackawanna, Blasdell, West Seneca, Cheektowaga, etc.

Now sprawl is repeating the scenario with the population of Erie County escaping into Niagara County, Olean, Genessee, Wyoming and Chatauqua.

Now if the future of Erie County goes the way of the City of Buffalo then fuh-gedd-abowd-id!

The Kettle
The Kettle

http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewiStockNews/articleid/4263998

"Ladies and gentlemen, I give you last week's census update. The numbers, once again, recall the experts' warning. People keep leaving Buffalo and such older suburbs as Cheektowaga and the Tonawandas. Even shiny Amherst, once the flight destination of choice, is morphing from winner to loser. It dropped an estimated 1,000 people during the past decade."

The Kettle
The Kettle

Its fitting that the "dey took are jabs!" South Park episode is on the same day this article gets written.

Those NYS bastards! Dey took are burbs!

Dey tuk r burbs!

Derke dewwwww!

grad94
grad94

bung said what i was thinking. people scream bloody murder about their taxes and when you offer relief by dissolving villages or reining in sprawl, they freak out.

either folks don't really mind those high taxes after all or they're convinced that government is santa claus and owes them everything for nothing.

jag
jag

How does this statement do anything other than highlight the importance of the legislation?!?!?!??!?!

bung
bung

Three times the stuff same amount of people paying for it. It's that simple. All you here people whine about,high taxes. Duh

RuffToughBuff
RuffToughBuff

Luckily for us 1,499,000 come here b/c of welfare, but on the bright side for BR lemmings, they all vote Democrat to preserve the status quo.

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