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Source: future.ongov.net


The Republican county executive of Onondaga County has come out with a remarkable website and plan dedicated to smart growth. Joanie Mahoney wants new developments to locate in places with existing infrastructure. The Post-Standard reports:

Onondaga County lost 5,785 acres of farmland between 2002 and 2007, and 1,300 acres of forests were lost to development between 1992 and 2006.

All the while, the county’s population growth has remained flat, so the same number of people have to pay to maintain a growing amount of public infrastructure such as roads, sewers and water lines.

County Executive Joanie Mahoney is proposing a new development plan that she says will reward suburban communities that restrict sprawl and give tax credits to developers who build in urban centers rather than paving over farmland.

Sprawl – particularly sprawl without population growth – has consequences. More cars traveling more miles. Loss of land. Greater infrastructure costs. Bigger strain on public transit. Cities drained of people and resources. Empty downtowns. Segregation.

Onondaga’s plan points to the economic benefits of smart growth:

Source: future.ongov.net


When former Mayor William Johnson started talking about sprawl around 2000, the backlash was intense. It helped cost him the 2003 county executive’s election. Have times changed?

Monroe County’s towns do not ignore the issue of smart growth and land preservation and many have comprehensive plans. The county’s planning department web page also details some efforts on the subject. But there’s no community plan (or will?) to address the issue of smart growth and talk about the consequences of sprawl.

7 Responses to Are We Ready to Talk Sprawl?

  1. July 27, 2012 at 11:16 am theodore kumlander responds:

    we are seeing it in victor . the build it and they will come is a myth. DiMaraco construction is building retail space on rt 96 that there is no demand for. did they not see that huge mall 2 miles up the road.

  2. This article is about residential housing. What it fails to address is that nothing, and I mean NOTHING, will make some people want to live in the city. I am one of them.

  3. I’ve heard “legends” that Bob King and Jack Doyle would throw out of their offices anyone who tried to talk about this.

  4. It’s one thing if you’re growing population like gangbusters, but that doesn’t really describe anywhere in upstate. Higher growth areas in our region simply represent shifts in population rather than true growth. Policies that encourage infill construction and redevelopment of existing areas make a lot more sense to me than gobbling up farmland and turning it into subdivisions or shopping centers.

    People generally like lower tax burdens and conversations in government are often around doing more with less. Sometimes it’s hard enough keeping up with maintenance on our existing systems. Better leveraging of existing infrastructure and avoiding ballooning future maintenance costs are prudent governance. Maybe developers that own big tracts of undeveloped land won’t be big fans of this but it’s a conversation we need to have here, sooner rather than later.

  5. Pingback: Ontario County Sprawl is Bad » The Rochesterian

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