Thursday, July 13, 2006

guess what? MoCo still isn't "overdeveloped"

It’s the first realistic assessment of Montgomery County’s growth I’ve heard in a long time, and it comes from County Councilman George Leventhal in a Post story about the issue of new development and how it has hijacked this fall’s County elections:

"Saying that we're going to slow growth, I think it is in part a hollow promise . . . I am not going to say voters' concerns are not real, and I don't want to minimize voters' concerns and toss them aside," he said. "But I think it's important to look at the actual statistics. We're not growing as much as our neighbors."

That’s right. The County’s population increased by 5.2% between 2000 and 2005, while Loudoun County’s population increased at ten times that rate. So when you hear a group of well-organized NIMBYs cry that Montgomery is overdeveloped, tell them to shut up. We are not Calcutta, nor will we be any time soon.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Comparing Montgomery and Loudon is really pretty disingenuous. Loudon is still relatively rural, with lots of open space. And it had a much smaller population to begin with, so any increase seems greater in percentage terms. Montgomey County has almost one million residents, so even growing at 5% means we will be adding about 50,000 people each year. We may not be "Calcutta", but we are starting to look like Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

I think that you are both correct. Yes, a gain in Loudon is different than a gain in Montgomery, but I think the fact that Montgomery only grew by 5 percent compared to 50 percent in Loudon is still worth looking it.

I applaud George Leventhal for taking a stand against the un-informed organizations and politicians who think that slowing growth in MoCo is the only thing that matters.

Anonymous said...

There are many high points in Germantown that overlook hundreds of rows of look-alike condos. From those points, Montgomery County really does resemble Calcutta.

Sligo said...

This neighborhood in Calcutta is the spitting image of Wheaton. (I KID, I KID)

thecourtyard said...

whoa, whoa, let's not say things we don't mean.

Calcutta is a lot nicer than Germantown. All that sprawl - ugh. And it gives Wheaton a nice run for its money, I'd like to think.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the issue is so much slowing growth as changing where growth is concentrated. One smart thing Virginia has been doing is concentrating a lot of growth around metro stations. But go to a station like Glenmont or Shady Grove and there ain't much around except parking lots and roads.

Anonymous said...

You miss the point. Montgomery County's population increase is equivalent to adding a City the size of Rockville every four years. If we had the infrastructure, that might be manageable, but read the Park and Planning Recommendations in 2003 and their comments from last September in which they say that schools and roads are above their capacity to support more development. In addition that development is not paying close to the cost of the infrastructure - all of which means that we're not only not able to provide what current growth requires, we can't dig ourselves out of the hole we're in. And, by the way, the growth we've seen is based on approvals given PRIOR to the End Gridlock council killing the growth controls.

This isn't about the growth rate, that debate is silly, it's about the ability of infrastructure to handle growth, to stage growth so it fits the infrastructure and to stage it so we can continue adequately fund services, rather than having to stretch services. If you think that all what you call "slow-growthers" care about is the growth rate, you're not listening.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Montgomery County. I have now escaped with my spouse to Western Loudoun County. Montgomery County is an armpit. Nothing but asphault, parking lots, cars, cars, cars, plastic houses, a real suburban slum. So glad I left. Now I live where there is a sense of community. Montgomery County lost its sense of community around 1970-1975 when the Montgomery County is FOR SALE sign went up. Since then real estate developers and new home builders have controlled everything.

Anonymous said...

If George wants to say "it's important to look at the actual statistics", then try comparing the percent of remaining green space consumed by development each year in each county. Montgomery's remaining green space consumption rate far exceeds Loudon's, year after year.