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's refusal to manage sustainable growth brings the chickens home to roost, all residents and policy folks must work together and take another look at what can be done.
Brian's words in this video of a presentation to citizens in Bastrop in October, 2016, ring even more true today. The video is a great overview of how subsidized growth is leading to more crisis as Brian leads us to a better way. The way cannot be to make current residents pay the full freight for infrastructure to serve new residents who have yet to arrive.
The story of Austin, is the urban side of the League's fight to rein in government subsidization of the developer lobby with our natural resources -- land and water. 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 for new 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!
Check out the chart below on impact fees and how Texas compares to other states. This is a key factor in driving up other fees and taxes that remain hidden to residents. The chart is contained in the power point at the bottom of the page entitled, "Total Accounting and Impact Fees."
DON'T MISS THESE SLIDE SHOWS below with very helpful content.
Cost of Infrastructure to Serve New Residential Development in Austin, Texas, was commissioned by Brian Rodgers and by Eben Fodor
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".