Growth is Inevitable, Raleigh's Success is Not
By Brent Woodcox
Ned Barnett's column in the News & Observer this weekend nails it when it comes to the challenges that growth will pose for Raleigh and the failure of our elected officials to create a coherent plan for the future. Raleigh is going to grow by leaps and bound even by the most conservative of estimates. We must plan for it if we will successfully weather any growing pains that come with it.
That's the essential failure of NIMBYism in Raleigh. Unless we are going to build a wall around the city, people will continue to move here. If you turn them away from your neighborhood, they'll just end up somewhere else in the city. Often, that has meant building new neighborhoods (and the infrastructure that comes along with them) on the edges of town. This encourages sprawl, leads to decreased density and is the opposite of ideal, modern city planning. It also increases the environmental footprint of the city in a way that any self-respecting progressive should oppose.
For all the talk of "planned" or "managed" growth, the plan seems too often to be to just say no to everything. But that doesn't make the newcomers go away. It doesn't stop the steady stream of new citizens setting down roots in Raleigh. And quite to the contrary of the folks who say they want to plan Raleigh's growth, it directly leads to unplanned and mismanaged growth in ways that set our city back, costs our taxpayers more and saddles future leaders with even more messes to clean up.
Raleigh does need a plan for growth. But "no" is not a plan.