If anyone knows about the costs of growth, it's Brian Rodgers, a successful commercial real estate investor in Austin, who has long been a thorn in the side of his brethren in the real estate industry. He has spent innumerable hours and dollars (his own), starting in 2007, challenging the growth-for-growth's sake game that is squashing affordability and the quality of life in Austin, Texas. Now, as Austin continues to accelerate unbridled growth, Brian's words in this video of a presentation citizens in Bastrop in October, 2016, is a great overview of how all growth is NOT good. If it is subsidized -- by current residents paying for the infrastructure demands that growth demands for roads, water lines, new police, fire and schools -- it can be devastating to affordability and qualify of life.
The story of Austin, is the urban side of the League's fight to rein in government subsidization of the developer lobby. It is not much different in many Texas municipalities and other high growth cities across America. Cities are all about development and developers often offload the costs of for development onto the backs of current residents.
Thanks to our legislature's captivity by the real estate industry, Texas municipalities are limited to charging impact fees in only four areas (roads, water, wastewater and drainage fees...that's it!) and the amount is capped.
Check out CostofGrowth.com to see the work that can be done to quantify the costs of growth in your area. Don't miss the study by Eben Fodor author of "Better Not Bigger", and commissioned by Brian Rodgers. It will show you how, for every new home built in Austin, developers offload $27,000+ in infrastructure costs onto the backs of current residents. Just use the search button and put in "Fodor":
You can also view the power point presentations linked below from a Candidate School for Austin City Council candidates in May 2014. This is one of our favorite slides reminding us of a basic rule in biology the growth lobby ignores.
DON'T MISS THESE SLIDE SHOWS with very helpful content.
The Growth Machine
Total Accounting and Impact Fees (just one way to make growth begin to pay for itself)
Alternative to Chamber Economic Model (if not in-migration, then what?)
Housing Costs & Sorting
Austin City Budget
Water in Austin
We also recommend reading Roger Baker's piece in the Rag Blog entitled, "The Rise and Rise of Austin, Texas".