Sprawl is Too Costly
In the same way, compact communities – built on what are often called “smart growth” principles – represent a good financial deal for taxpayers. Because things are closer together, the need to build costly, upfront infrastructure is minimized. Taxpayers save money over time as well, because all those public servants we rely on – police officers, firefighters, paramedics, school bus drivers, snowplow drivers – don’t have to drive as far.
Conventional suburban communities, by contrast, are much more expensive to build and serve. In North Carolina, a study by the City of Charlotte found that a fire station in a low-density neighborhood with disconnected streets serves one-quarter the number of households and at four times the cost of an otherwise identical fire station in a less spread-out and more connected neighborhood. Another study in Champaign, Ill., by the respected consulting firm TischlerBise, found that growing within the city’s current urban service area would generate a tax surplus of $33 million, while sprawling beyond it would put a $20 million hole in the city’s budget.
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