For All The Times I Kept Asking, Is The Market Really There??

From today's New York Times, "In Florida, Battle Over Growth Goes To The Voters,":
Even now, with about 300,000 residential units sitting empty around the state, the push to build continues. Since 2007, local governments have approved zoning and other land use changes that would add 550,000 residential units and 1.4 billion square feet of commercial space, state figures show.

So for Ms. [Lesley] Blackner, a Palm Beach lawyer with a Mercedes full of paperwork, the real estate crisis is not just the fault of Wall Street, Washington or misguided borrowers; it is also the back-scratching bond between elected officials and builders — a common source of frustration in weak real estate markets around the country wherever developers are still fighting to add more housing.
Sigh. Only the unanimous support for the proposed changes by the Pepper Pike residents who currently live at The Pointe persuaded me to vote yes on those plan changes.  But the reality still may be that while the demand for the originally planned units is next to nil right now and for at least the next couple of years if not longer, the demand for what will be going up remains extremely uncertain in my mind.

NB: The article is about the sides lining up behind and against Amendment 4:
Amendment 4, as it is officially called, would give Floridians a vote on changes to state-mandated plans for growth in every county and municipality. Much of the potential impact of the measure is up for debate, with important details most likely to be decided by the courts.
But if it is added to the state’s Constitution — which would require 60 percent approval on Election Day — critics and supporters envision revolutionary change.
You can read more about it here.

1 comment:

Paul said...

It's slightly bizarre that in Ohio, the municipal governments and the school boards are two separate entities, an arrangement which often leads to conflict.

I understand why it is this way - there are plenty of rural areas in Ohio where there is no incorporated municipality, only township governments. And often school districts encompass multiple jurisdictions. Our school district is made up of the entirety of one city and two townships, as well as parts of two other cities (one being Columbus) and five other townships.

The cities in our district continue to act in a way that is determintal to the schools, with the primary offense being to have allowed, and continuing to allow residential development on a vast scale, with little commercial development to ease the burden.

One case: one of the neighboring suburbs has a great school system, in part because it has a substantial commercial base to help with the funding. Part of that city's territory extends into our school district as well. They recently published a new master plan that defines all of their land in our school district as being for residential development, while all land zoned for commercial development is within their school district. The impact is that we'll get the kids and the associated cost, while their school district will avoid the cost of more kids, but will get the commercial revenue.

And just recently, another of our cities arranged a 75% TIF to a residential developer, with that TIF money being used to upgrade a major intersection in the city. The effect is to use property tax dollars raised by a school levy to build roads. In other words, the city officials get to preserve their funds to do other stuff, while revenue is being taken away from the school at the same time more kids are being added. Why exactly is it the case that a municipality gets to give away the revenue of the school district?

The NYT article has a key phrase: "back-scratching bond between elected officials and builders." What does this really mean? I think we know...