The impact of sprawl- and a solution?

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a bit.
The quaint little bedroom community of Waynesville, with its collection of antique joints in “downtown” is about to double in size, thanks to Oberer Companies who plan to add 863 homes on the 495 acre site of the LeMay farm.
The 2000 census had Waynesville’s population at 2,558. If you add an average of 3 people per home that Oberer will build, Waynesville will add 2,589 people.
Since the region isn’t growing, where do these people come from?
Many will be moving out from the first ring communities- Kettering, West Carrolton, Trotwood, Huber Heights, Beavercreek- all escaping the results of the last expansion.
Try driving down N. Fairfield Road at 5:30 pm. When I came to Dayton in 1983, it was a couple of lanes through farmland. Now, it’s overbuilt, and the demands on city services aren’t equal to the revenue generated.
Try driving 202 (Old Troy Pike) at I-70. Same thing. Overbuilt for the infrastructure that is in place. Instead of being able to invest our tax dollars into schools, parks, police and fire, cities are forced to pick up the tab on widening roads, improving sewers, extending water lines and the like to areas that were once food producing farm land.
Since the region hasn’t grown in population, what happened to the homes that were left in the migration outward? Take a look at Dayton, and you will see what may happen in the suburbs- as people keep trying to “escape” instead of improve where they live.
If you think escape is possible- you are mistaken. Look at the overbuilding going on in Springboro, where roads built for farm access are now carrying the loads of a mini-metropolis. 741 is now being widened to 4 lanes all the way to 73. This is money that could have been used for quality of life improvements.
If you want to see a model of what a forward thinking community has done to keep it’s residents happy with quality services and schools, one can look to Kettering. The Kettering Recreation Center on Glengarry Drive, The Fraze Pavilion, The Rosewood Art center- the new Athletic facility/ concert hall at Kettering Fairmount High School- all done to improve quality of life.
Springboro and Bellbrook have suffered huge growing pains from large influxes of new homes, without having the infrastructure or commercial tax base to support the growth. Waynesville will have the same exact problem.
With fuel prices rising, the lengthening of commutes makes even less financial sense. There aren’t 10 new jobs in Waynesville that would support the payments on a $200,000 house, never mind 863.
In the meantime, the glut of homes, ends up costing all of us as property values in the community core drop with oversupply thanks to the overbuilding.
Just look at the drop in enrollment in the Dayton Public Schools (even when you add in the Charters- the numbers are still dropping).
Either way, it’s time for leadership to step up with a plan.
One way to harness the spread is to do what Portland OR has done with a development limit- drawing a line in the sand and refusing to extend services outside the development limits. Another, would be to require an even swap- to build a home outside the core, you must earn credits by buying a home in the core and either demolishing it or rehabbing it. These “reinvestment credits” could be bought and sold on the market, with extra credits assigned to certain neighborhoods most in need, much like Historic Tax Credits. It’s a radical solution- but with the number of vacant homes, foreclosures and deterioration in the core something must be done.
What do you think?

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