The Democrat and Chronicle published a gushing piece about the growth of Ontario County without mentioning the serious costs of this kind of sprawl.
The population of Ontario County has increased 8 percent over the last decade. The Town of Victor’s population has gone up 40 percent. The area led the region in the rate of home building permits.
One of things that facilitated the area’s growth is new roads. The D&C reports:
Access to major transportation routes is key to the county’s success. Victor is especially attractive because it offers quick access to both the New York State Thruway and Interstate 490.
“That’s one of the most powerful locations in upstate New York,” said Ontario County economic developer Michael J. Manikowski.
In addition to Victor’s Exit 45, Ontario County has three more Thruway exits, something unusual for a county its size.
Here’s what’s wrong with this picture. If the region’s population center, Monroe County, was booming, spillover would be easier to understand and accept. What’s happening in Ontario County, however, is just classic sprawl without growth.
It comes at a cost. Sprawl eats up open land. Sprawl forces state taxpayers to pay for infrastructure. Sprawl puts more cars on the road for more miles. Sprawl leaves depressed home values and vacant homes elsewhere in the community. Sprawl means abandoned downtowns. Sprawl means a wealth shift out of one community into another. Sprawl means more residential and school segregation by income.
Onondaga County is now tackling the costly issue of sprawl without growth. Even if Monroe County wanted to have a serious discussion about sprawl, it looks like it would need Ontario County to partner. That doesn’t seem likely. The D&C reports:
“This has been a long-term success of over 30 years of trying to get this right,” said Ontario County Administrator John Garvey.
While the county’s attractive landscape, especially around Canandaigua Lake, makes it attractive to potential residents and businesses, it’s not enough to produce the current prosperity, Garvey said.
The “current prosperity” is due to sprawl. As Ontario County touts its success, it’s important to remember the cost to its neighbor.
Links of the Day:
- To slow down traffic, Tompkins County painted road shoulders green. It looks like a permanent St. Patrick’s Day parade route.
- Ah, New York State bureaucracy. The Albany Times Union has the epic tale of a woman trying to get her massage therapist license.
- A Central New York couple really, really loves pumpkins.
- The “flack to hack” ratio is going up and the power of PR people over journalists is out of control.
- A critical piece on a former WPS owner also knocks Abby Wambach. Observers said she didn’t do enough to protect younger, underpaid players from the bully owner.