(May 17, 2017) – Traditional "Large Lot Zoning" is "Greener" than "Smart Growth" within Urban Growth Boundaries . . . Copyright 2009 – 2017 . . . Tom Lane . . . Photographing California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington.
(UNDER CONSTRUCION) Please refer to the main page on Smart Growth Infill in Maricopa County and Reasons to vote no on prop 104 at – https://smartgrowthusa.wordpress.com/category/vote-no-on-104/
This post will ultimately explain the history of two relatively suburban, low density, conservative Southwestern counties known for their natural amenities, high tech employers, and who frequently exchange residents, especially singles, students, and young families moving from the coast to the Phoenix area.
While Ventura county since the early 1970’s has chosen to restrict growth, including smart growth towers and light rail, Maricopa county has recently chosen to increase growth, especially smart growth towers within infill incentive districts allowed by state law, and a regional light rail system.
While voters in Ventura county are about to renew their 40 year anti-growth plan with urban growth boundaries, called SOAR (Save Our Agricultural Resources), residents of the other county might vote to establish light rail lines within infill incentive districts, with smart growth towers and increased traffic congestion.
While some residents of Ventura County send their kids to ASU in Maricopa County, both parents and kids are amazed that Phoenix rents are going up by 9% every year, due to the smart growth towers that raise rents for everyone.
While residents of Ventura County enjoy access to the ocean and a variety of small beach towns, residents of Maricopa County find it increasingly difficult to travel to small mining and mountain towns, due to increased traffic congestion from residents of towers in the infill incentive districts.
Meanwhile, residents can buy a home in Maricopa County for $200,000, but it’s more than twice this amount in Ventura County. Some view the increasing congestion and lack of open space in Maricopa County as reasons to either go back, or, find somewhere else.
Why Smart Growth Occurs in Phoenix, but Not in Ventura County
Cities in Ventura County have MINIMUM lot sizes and maintain a suburban, semi-rural atmosphere due to their comprehensive plans. The info on Thousand Oaks will be copied from my L.A. post.
Why Smart Growth is Exploding Everywhere in Maricopa County
In recent years, the State of Arizona passed four laws to allow infill (smart growth towers). These will be detailed below from the state of AZ web site. The infill incentive districts are already discussed with maps and photos on my no on 104 post – https://smartgrowthusa.wordpress.com/category/vote-no-on-104/
In addition, voters have voted several times to fund light rail in the Phoenix area, and Proposition 104 is on the ballot on August 25, to raise taxes of 31 billion dollars to pay for even more light rail.
Ventura County does not spend money on light rail.
Why Traffic is Getting Worse in Phoenix
As density increases due to smart growth towers, particularly in Scottsdale (which mayor W. J. “Jim” Lane Jr.) designated downtown an “infill incentive district,” then traffic increases. Likewise with the Desert Ridge area where there are smart growth towers, and in the Tempe area.
Construction is capped in many cities in Ventura county. Thousand Oaks is nearly built out. New construction in smaller cities such as Ojai doesn’t happen that much, since the Ojai Land Conservancy buys new land that comes on the market.
In the Early Years, Ventura County Decided they Did Not want to become like Los Angeles, but Maricopa County Did Not
However, Ventura County in the early 1970’s decided NOT to be like Los Angeles. Early leaders decided that there would never be anymore than 9 cities in the county, seperated with large greenbelts.
Unfortunately, this did not happen in Maricopa County.
Why Housing is More Expensive in Ventura County
The greenbelts have now turned into urban growth boundaries. The “Save Our Agricultural Resources” is up for election this fall. Outside of the boundaries, the minimum lot size is one acre.
Why Housing is More Expensive in Scottsdale
Just as with Thousand Oaks, areas that are zoned for larger lots will be more expensive. and the city is virtually “built out.”
Does either county have affordable housing.
Not by national standards. The state of arizona auctions land at a very slow rate, and by state law, must wait for prices to reach their maximum before they are auctioned. Since their values went down in the late 2000’s, then they haven’t been auctioned just yet.
What areas have affordable housing?
Not anywhere in Arizona, you have go to Salt Lake City, or Albuquerque – Rio Rancho.
But the webmaster is against urban growth boundaries and he sounds like he’s favoring Ventura County?
Yes, I am, and favor low density in all directions, one to five acre lots, just like Frank Lloyd Wright.
In Ventura County, you can build one acre lots outside the urban growth boundaries, however, the approval process would be difficult. Due to the county’s high rents, why not make it easier to build planned developments outside of the UGB’s, conserving all the native oak trees and protecting the watersheds?
I do not favor buildings over 2 stories in height, just like Sedona and Cave Creek, AZ. and also Ojai and Pismo Beach.
I would advocate for more open space within the existing city limits of the Phoenix area cities. Scottsdale, is 42% open space in their general plan (2040?) whereas Thousand Oaks is 33% open space.
I would like to see Tempe and Phoenix cancel their infill incentive districts and require that developers donate 25% of their land as open space. That’s what Thousand Oaks did with its early 1970’s general plan.
Inserts: Scottsdale Neighborhoods map
If you vote no on phoenix proposition 104, then you are voting against smart growth. The election is not about light rail, which only takes 1% of all cars off the roads. Instead, it’s about giving money to developers, as they don’t necessarily have to pay taxes in the infill incentive districts, depending on the city. See my other post for info on that:
I have wanted for a long time to compare the Scottsdale open space initiatives with those of Ventura County, along with how both areas increase home prices by blocking land to development. This does not have to happen. There are places with lots of open space and affordable housing, such as Reno, Redding, and Chico. Even Phoenix is becoming expensive, especially if voters pass the new 70 cent on $100 sales tax.
While advocates of affordable housing claim that smart growth and light rail will provide affordable housing within walkable communities, this is not the case in places that have tried this approach such as Portland and Seattle.
Clearly, new paradigms are needed to meet the nation’s requirement for affordable single family housing. And that’s not happening anywhere in places with old school urban planning, such as “smart growth” which was started in Boulder, CO in the late 1960’s. Why are we still applying old, outdated planning concepts to Maricopa and Ventura Counties?
Stay tuned for more.
Vote no on 104, light rail is leftover from the early 1900’s. Arizona as founded in 1912, this is 2015………….:-)