In a slow-growth city like St. Louis, competition among municipalities for tax dollars is fierce. Pulling big box retailers from one town and offering them tax incentives to float to another has been the main source of competition among municipalities for over 10 years.
It’s time to start thinking about growth differently, not as feeding off of ourselves to stay afloat but as attracting new residents. New shoppers, new taxpayers, new rooftops.
Creating and attracting lifelong municipal residents is dependent upon the type of housing that is created. The early years in the new millennium fed the belief that whatever the housing built, buyers would be endless and values would appreciate. The time has come, however to understand community demographics as an integral part of the future of our town and cities.
MarketGraphics tells us that current lot supply exceeds demand by six years. The future of our cities lies in responsibly creating the type of housing that not only attracts new residents but creates lifelong citizens. Every one of the lots that is currently in oversupply was at one point approved by their municipal planning commission and expected to create revenue and benefit the community socially and economically. The anticipated municipal population growth, educational benefit and community vibrancy is now at risk based on improper planning and lack of demographic foresight. The focus for 2011 and beyond must shift to one of thoughtful planning and approval.