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What's wrong with this picture?

There's an old saying that if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. Our response to the Wayne Master Plan Revision.

 

The proposed mixed use, retail and low income and high density housing will not reduce your taxes

It will not reduce property taxes. Low income and high density housing and even Active Adult housing do not reduce taxes.

What is discussed is only on the tax receipts side of the equation and does not address the added costs to the town which include: added school children (commercial development generates none), garbage pickup (commercial development do their own), sometimes snow removal, emergency services, courts, social services, elections, public defenders, prosecutors, and a whole lot more in government services too numerous to name here.

First, the Administrations presentation relies on analysis and figures from the “The Congress for the New Urbanism” CU (slide show presentation to the Wayne Planning Board) an anti suburban think tank. One of the points that the administration makes is the mixed use properties in some circumstances, generate slightly more taxes than either big box or small malls. What is not discussed is that is only on the tax receipts side of the equation and does not address the added cost to the town which include: added school children (commercial development generates none), garbage pick up (commercial development do their own), sometimes snow removal, emergency services, courts, social services, elections, public defenders, prosecutors, and a whole lot more in government services to numerous to name here.

According to statistics from the town planner “between 2000 and 2010, U.S. Census data shows the number of residents 25 to 34, those who are most likely to have young children in the school system and own a house, has decreased.” And later, “Student population has decreased six of the last seven school years, the exception being the 2009-10 school year.” Evidently there is a direct correlation between the decrease in the 23 to 34 year olds and the decrease in school enrolment. The school portion of the property tax levy is about twice that of the municipal and county portions. In other words you would have to collect twice the taxes to offset each child from the very demographic group of 25 to 34 year olds “who are most likely to have young children in the school system” and who the town planner said “We’ve got to get them back here, they don’t want to live in single-family homes” (Wayne Patch - Wayne Wants to Lure Younger Residents With New Housing Plan by Daniel Hubbard 8/19/13).

 
It is also useful to remember that you can build low income and high density housing but you cannot choose an age group to rent to any more than you could choose racial, income, family status or employment history as a criteria. With the overall unemployment rate hovering around 7.5%, the 25 to 34 demographic is the one with the highest unemployment rate of all, a full 11% higher than any other post collage age group. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Division of Labor Force Statistics) It would seem that other age groups would be more likely to rent, and, as to the administrations assertion that the non low income apartments will be made so expensive and so small that only the 25 to 34 demographic will find them attractive. Think about the former State Farm property on Route 23, which is one of the properties in the proposed zone changes, and ask yourself this: Why would anyone rent a small expensive apartment behind retail stores and backing up to someone’s back yard, with no public transportation and among the worse congestion in town for the morning and evening rush hours? Even if the initial goal could be met we have all seen has happened to apartments over time as they deteriorate and negatively affect their neighbors.

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