ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Homestarts Are Up, Not Everyone Is Happy

Updated on August 3, 2020
LarryDMiller profile image

Larry Miller has been a real estate investor for a number of years and has worked with single-family homes as well as condos.

I read recently where home starts in June were up 17.3%. This was after the terrible months of March and April with a small improvement in May. Existing home sales were down, but pending contracts were way up.

This seems like good news, but not everyone was happy about it. Aside from the political implications, there are some who see this as a problem. An appeals court recently dismissed a suit by the Edison Board of Education (NJ) against the Edison Zoning Board of Adjustment and a developer. This was over just an eight-unit project.

Why Would a School Board Sue the Zoning Board?

For those who haven't been involved in county-level politics, there are always various forces at work when growth is involved. Building new homes helps the area grow, however building new homes also puts more burden on local facilities such as schools, hospitals, and emergency services. Hence the actions of the school board who was put in a position of providing education for the children living in the new homes. There may have been other issues unique to Thomas Edison's home town.

Some will argue that the incremental costs of adding several students to the system are covered by the additional taxes (along with federal and state money). Up to a point this is correct – until they add up to the need for new schools, buses and teachers.

A Brief Explanation

I was involved in this for a number of years in the suburban Richmond VA area. It was an era when some in the county government felt it was their job to help the developers bring their plans to fruition, sometimes over the objections and welfare of residents negatively impacted by a hundred and twenty unit subdivision next to their rural home.

Emergency services could not guarantee expected response times if the development was beyond the planned growth zones. Schools hauled in classroom trailers to handle overflow, and a host of other situations came about by the influx of people. There was always this sense of conflict between the desire for expansion and those tasked with providing services.

One Solution

Because real estate development has an impact on the local government operations, the solution that was applied at this time was to implement something logically called an Impact Fee. The purpose of this was to help fund some of the additional services required by the increased population. This contributed to school and emergency service construction as well as road improvements.

This was somewhat helpful to the county but did not help the new home buyers. Between impact fees of something in the neighborhood of $20,000 to $25,000 per unit and various regulations, the builder had about $100,000 into a lot with nothing more than a hole in the ground. This wasn't the way to build affordable housing. The result was either townhouse construction to keep prices down or high-end homes near and over the million-dollar price tag.

The latter found several developments put on hold when the housing market tanked. Very nice homes were left by themselves with partially completed roads and partially completed neighbors. Builders took a financial beating.

The Other Solution

Others without the resources and connections, or opposed by powerful neighbors approaching the planning commission were simply turned down. Perhaps they were the fortunate ones. Occasionally one would slip through and the taxpayers funded the additional services.

The Big Question

What is the right thing to do with regard to development? There are two conflicting rights that need to be considered.

The first is the rights of the property owner to use their property as they see fit. This is a basic right in America. For some in this situation, their farmland was to be their retirement fund. The plans were to sell it to a developer and live happily ever after. For the county to prevent them from converting their property from farmland to residential was a financial hit that put them in an unexpected bind.

Counter to that right was the necessity of the county government to create viable comprehensive plans for growth and provision of service. What this means is that there are growth zones where services like police and EMT are within acceptable response times. Schools are available within a reasonable distance and growth in these areas is not a problem.

However, placing major developments beyond these areas meant excessive response times for emergency personnel and inadequate educational facilities. Thus the desire for impact fees that had such a negative effect on the whole process.

So the question: does the individual property owner's rights outweigh the cost and inconvenience of everyone else around them? I am loath to put the welfare of the government over the individual rights, but it doesn't seem that the individual, whether the farmer or developer can expect everyone else to contribute to their welfare and receive a negative benefit.

The Answer

This is where we see school boards and others creating obstacles to growth and development and it's not all about politics. Sometimes there are reasonable factors to keep in mind when bringing growth and progress to an area. Then again, sometimes the NIMBY people just don't want to see changes. There is no universal answer. Sometimes participation in local government can be a profitable pastime.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)