Economics of Sound Planning
Economics of Sound Planning
The case for planning and conservation in the Texas Hill Country is clear when we think about water resources, scenic beauty and quality of life. However, since economic benefits are often used to argue for growth at all costs, it is also important to analyze the economic value of conservation activities and existing natural landscapes. Measuring the economic benefits of thoughtful growth and conservation policies can be challenging — how does one measure the dollar value of a clear creek or a nearby network of hiking trails? We also seek to find a rightful place for economics within a larger conversation about what we value in our communities. The studies found on this page take a look at variety of related topics such as the value of parks, the cost of infrastructure, the economic effects of tourism and how investing in land conservation pays off.
Some key findings from existing studies on planning economics include:
- The amount of property tax revenue from residential sprawl is not enough to cover the costs associated with new infrastructure. This means that current taxpayers subsidize new development.
- For every dollar Bandera County receives in taxes from farm and agricultural lands, it spends $0.26 to service the same area. Yet, in residential areas, the county spends $1.10 in services on every dollar received in taxes.
- For every dollar put into parks by the LCRA and Travis County, $16.80 was returned in benefit.
- While most other states allow counties to collect fees from developers to help offset the cost of new development, Texas does not.
- Texas leads the nation in loss of prime agricultural farmland to development.
- The real estate market consistently demonstrates that many people are willing to pay a more for property located close to parks and open space areas. The higher value of these residences means that their owners pay higher property taxes. In effect, this represents a “capitalization” of parkland into increased property values for proximate landowners.
- Conservation-oriented areas show higher appreciation in property values.
- Residents value undeveloped lands primarily for their wildlife habitat and water quality protection.
- In 2008, visitors to state parks from outside Texas added $15.7 million to the gross state product.
Recent Economics of Sound Planning News
One of Texas’ largest unbroken areas of urban wilderness will be preserved by Hays County
Over 1,000 acres of biodiverse habitat in the Texas Hill Country will be shielded from future development under a new conservation agreement that is part of a network of protected conservation lands. That network will be the state’s largest unbroken parcel of urban...
How the ongoing drought impacts the Hill Country
In 2022, San Antonio received only a third of its average annual rainfall. Kerrville received 12.38 inches, 60% below its normal average. Popular swimming holes from Jacobs Well in Wimberley to the Guadalupe River near Center Point dried up. The Pedernales, Llano...
You have all the parking you need—and it’s hiding in plain sight
Communities far and wide believe that they have a parking problem. This concern generally ranks as a top problem voiced in public meetings and shows up in master plans and visioning documents. Lack of parking creeps in as an excuse for declining or stagnant economic...
Flawed groundwater planning process puts Texans at risk
Texas’ process for protecting its groundwater resources is fundamentally flawed — lacking critical funding, science, and planning tools, failing to safeguard future groundwater supplies, and endangering both the water security of Texas communities and the property...