Value of open space versus development

Discussions, news, etc on the Wetland, Conservation, Open Space, and toxic waste sites in Wilmington and Tewksbury. Especially Rocco's in Wilmington and Tewksbury Metals on East Street.

Value of open space versus development

Postby bferrari on Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:45 pm


Value of open space versus development ... evelopment

"Economic development" can be an oxymoron; two words contradicting each other, like jumbo shrimp, original copy, only choice.

Author Robert Lemire wrote in his 1979 book Creative Land Development:

"I found it helpful to develop data on the municipal costs of saving a piece of land as compared with allowing it to be developed. Right from the start I had realized that economics was the key to saving open space. In 1971 ... I had asked the chairman of the local Conservation Commission to estimate the municipal cost of servicing the houses built in the prior three years and to compare these with the tax revenues paid by the owners of these homes. It was this study that made it possible for me to state that their average new housing was falling $750 short of paying its share of municipal costs per year. It was this figure that enabled me to demonstrate that it would be less costly for residents to save the land that needed to be saved than to have it developed."

The context of Lemire's quote is municipal balance. Hailing from Pawtucketville, he graduated from Lowell High, where his father taught math. Lemire went on to Yale and Harvard Business School and later traveled far and wide to give talks on sustainable growth.

Sacrificing valuable open space has a negative effect on limited resources; not just the town coffers, but also drinking water, clean air and wholesome habitat for all living beings. Taxes barely cover the real municipal cost to service a development: Infrastructure must be built and maintained.

School, police, EMT and fire department staff services and facilities imply capital cost.
Development is not always an economically sustainable move. Sometimes, the value of open space is underestimated, and tax winnings from developed land are overestimated. Sometimes it is less costly for residents to save land rather than to develop it.

MARLIES HENDERSON Billerica ... evelopment
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Re: Value of open space versus development

Postby swamper on Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:51 pm

FYI.....Marlies Henderson is the Chairwoman of Billerica's Community Preservation Committee who along with a dedicated core group championed the effort in the recently passed CPA for the Town of Billerica. Sound familiar? She also helped out at OUR Town's Earth Day event last April. Good people. 8)
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