Photo: Paul Huchton
Economics of Sound Planning
The case for planning and conservation in the Texas Hill Country is clear when we think about water resources, scenic beauty and quality of life. However, since economic benefits are often used to argue for growth at all costs, it is also important to analyze the economic value of conservation activities and existing natural landscapes. Measuring the economic benefits of thoughtful growth and conservation policies can be challenging — how does one measure the dollar value of a clear creek or a nearby network of hiking trails? We also seek to find a rightful place for economics within a larger conversation about what we value in our communities. The studies found on this page take a look at variety of related topics such as the value of parks, the cost of infrastructure, the economic effects of tourism and how investing in land conservation pays off.
Some key findings from existing studies on planning economics include:
- The amount of property tax revenue from residential sprawl is not enough to cover the costs associated with new infrastructure. This means that current taxpayers subsidize new development.
- For every dollar Bandera County receives in taxes from farm and agricultural lands, it spends $0.26 to service the same area. Yet, in residential areas, the county spends $1.10 in services on every dollar received in taxes.
- For every dollar put into parks by the LCRA and Travis County, $16.80 was returned in benefit.
- While most other states allow counties to collect fees from developers to help offset the cost of new development, Texas does not.
- Texas leads the nation in loss of prime agricultural farmland to development.
- The real estate market consistently demonstrates that many people are willing to pay a more for property located close to parks and open space areas. The higher value of these residences means that their owners pay higher property taxes. In effect, this represents a “capitalization” of parkland into increased property values for proximate landowners.
- Conservation-oriented areas show higher appreciation in property values.
- Residents value undeveloped lands primarily for their wildlife habitat and water quality protection.
- In 2008, visitors to state parks from outside Texas added $15.7 million to the gross state product.
Can a lighting retrofit in a growing metropolitan city save energy, maintain safety standards, and protect the starry night sky? __ Tucson, Arizona, is a major metropolitan city in the…
Investigative Summary: KXAN investigated Austin’s water loss, enough to fill Lady Bird Lake twice, in 2015. Now, the city is losing more water through leaks and pipes, more than six…
The Urban Land Institute released a Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) report regarding land use along the San Marcos River in August. The City of San Marcos, the Greater San Marcos…
On Oct. 22, Hays County approved an interlocal agreement that will involve installation of two groundwater monitor wells near Jacob’s Well and sampling of groundwater in the vicinity of Jacob’s…
Hill Country View
Cost of Community Service Studies (COCS)