Letter: Lack of planning could prove costly

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 23, 2007

It is very important for our community to be discussing land-use planning now rather than saying we should have done it after growth happens.

According to 2000 and 2005 Census figures, Rowan County’s population grew 3.7 percent, or 4,759 people. If our growth rate rises to the state average of 7.9 percent, that would be 10,672 new people.

Even more eye-opening would be if we were to experience growth close to that of Wake County, which has seen 19.3 percent growth. For Rowan, that would be 26,074 new residents.

Let’s look at residential homes and table other necessary development such as schools, police, fire, shopping centers, etc. The 2005 Census said we have an average of 2.6 people per household. That would be 1,922 new homes at 3.7 percent growth, 4,105 at 7.9 percent, and 10,028 at 19.3 percent.

I do not believe that land-use planning will negatively affect property values. There is a fixed supply of land, and demand is going to increase.

Land-use planning does not force people to move or reduce the rights you have to use your property the way you always have.

With no land-use plan, we create conditions for urban sprawl and major inefficiencies in how our county has to spend our tax dollars. Who will pay for the roads to these new places and expansion of existing county roads? This is almost always paid for with an increased county tax and sometimes a new development tax.

Growth in an efficient way can pay for itself much faster. So the way I see it, we can either have a plan for our future or increase taxes.

We are the last county on the I-85 corridor without a land-use plan; it is past time to give this serious thought. Growth and change are coming. How we prepare for it will make all the difference in our lives and our wallets.

— Geof Wilson