NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Communities Fighting Back Against Slow-Growth Policies

February 10, 2003

Amid the economic downturn, advocates of slow-growth policies in small towns and communities are increasingly being challenged by citizens who are pledged to continued growth and progress. The movement which flourished in the booming 1990s is losing its footing, observers report.

  • Only days ago in Loudoun County, Va., a burgeoning Washington suburb, more than 150 lawsuits were filed against the county by people who oppose its growth-control policies.
  • In Colorado, where the economy has sagged for two years, several small towns eager to spur development and increase the local tax base are turning away from growth restrictions -- while growth advocates in other towns are watching to see what happens.
  • While the pro-growth movement is far from the status of a national crusade, it is attracting adherents who find a "lock the town and throw away the key" philosophy repugnant.

They point out that economies and needs change, and many towns which rushed to pass low-growth measures in the 1990s now find themselves in need of the revenues and the economic stimulus greater development can bring.

Source: Michael Janofsky, "In Towns Which Slowed Growth, Backlash Stirs," New York Times, February 9, 2003.

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