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Saturday, August 13, 2011

ON GROWTH


The word growth can mean different things to different people. In our neck of the woods we most often hear it mentioned in terms of children in the schools equaling higher taxes. That's residential growth of a certain type. But, there is also residential growth that doesn't create the need for more classrooms. That's the kind of growth we've experienced in our school district for several years now. While the number of homes has grown, the number of children in the Southern School District schools has remained static.
There is also non-residential growth. That is the growth in new and expanded businesses, growth that means more shopping options, more jobs available and more taxes going to the school district. We can also see more growth in terms of new churches, day care centers and health care.
So, growth isn't all bad. Indeed, growth is necessary. Communities cannot remain static or stagnant. They must grow with the times and the needs of their citizens. The laws of Pennsylvania recognize this fact and do not allow municipalities to stop growth, only manage it.
Even places like cities and boroughs that have built out, cannot and do not stop growing. They simply concentrate on renovation and rebuilding.
The key is to grow smartly, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. Elected officials acting on personal preference, discrimination, dishonesty and just plain ignorance can make growth very painful.
Smart growth takes place with objective planning and informed preparation. It is growth that furthers the important preservation efforts we all desire.
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