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Can Wickenburg Escape the Metropolitan Monster ?
Wickenburg, Arizona- The famous jail tree was a responsible use of what Wickenburg had to offer. Criminals were held at the tree in an open natural setting. This was the ultimate planning by the city planner, and government of Wickenburg. They used want was their natural advantage.
In the 1800's, the town of Phoenix supplied, the then metropolitan town of Wickenburg many of the items needed to keep the mining community going. Never could one have imagined that the small town that supplied Wickenburg would one day be wanting to spread it's economic density over the beautiful high desert land.
There is two views on growth and density. One view is the City of Surprise role model, using the least amount of land, build as many homes and businesses as possible resulting in high density (HD) urban living.. H.D. states that the greater the density of economic development, will result in the greater good. This economic model is usually dictated by the public sector (local government) and motivated by maximum profit for the private side.
View two, low density (LD), is the Cave Creek model, that allows for people to choose what kind of density that they want. Residents are built out, as the original zoning was planned. It has to allow for revenues for the public sector for the government to provide services and a profit for the private sector.
It should be government's responsibility to inform residents of their town as to what each option, HD and LD will cost. The voters need to have the opportunity to understand those costs and have the option as to how they want to live .
LD will result in a HIGHER QUALITY of life. Less traffic, less pollution, less crime ,less crowded schools etc.. IT WILL COST YOU MORE IN TAXES, that is the trade off.
HD will result in a LOWER QUALITY of life. More traffic, more pollution, more crime, more crowded schools, etc.. IT WILL COST YOU LESS IN TAXES, that is the trade off.
All housing booms are cyclical over various periods of time. The past four years housing boom, has been fueled by inexpensive financing, courtesy of the Federal governments' interest rate gift.
Mortgage rates were the lowest in over forty years. This allowed for appreciation driven by the engine of low mortgage rates. This is coming to an end. World politics can have a major effect on housing markets late in their cycle. ( see year 1979 and 1989) We are at the top of the market.
Interest rates are being raised to slow down inflation. All new mortgages will cost more, thus slowing down appreciation on property. The investor component in the real estate market, will result in less appreciation and possible a slight decline in property values. Investors have a motto "Last one out gets hit by the door ". Will investors sell and run? History says some will. The greater the number of runners the quicker the market will slow down.
Good things can come out of everything, and a housing slow down could allow for an educational period on HD and LD. The slower period can be a great opportunity to look at the master plan again and put these ideas to a public vote.
This could be another ultimate opportunity for the city planner and the City of Wickenburg to use their natural advantage to give the residents what they want.
The metropolitan monster Growthzilla has flattened Phoenix and is marching out, Wickenburg way, the choice is yours. Get involved.
Robert Hipman : Economist
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