We invite you to join us for a Curbside Chat entitled Is Derry Township a “Strong Town”? on Thurs., Jan 10 at 7 PM at the Twp Building, 600 Clearwater Rd. The speaker, Chuck Marohn, is a Republican with a fiscally conservative message that might surprise you.
Marohn spoke last year at a well-attended Dauphin County Planning Commission event and I found him to be challenging with an important warning for these difficult financial times.
Please help us publicize this opportunity. Feel free to forward this email. I hope you can join us or participate in one of the other Curbside Chats (see list below).
What is a Curbside Chat ? A candid talk about the future of America’s cities, towns and neighborhoods. The Curbside Chat is a presentation, followed by a community-specific discussion, about the financial health of our places.
Why are our towns so short of resources despite decades of robust growth?
Why do we struggle at the local level just to maintain our basic infrastructure?
What do we do now that the economy has changed so dramatically?
The answers lie in the way we have developed; the financial productivity of our places. This stunning presentation is a game-changer for communities looking to grow more resilient and obtain true prosperity during changing times.
Please join us on Jan 10 at 7 PM for “Is Derry Township a ‘Strong Town’ ”? – a discussion about the future of our land use with Chuck Marohn at the Township Building, 600 Clearwater Road, on January 10 at 7 p.m. Chuck is the Executive Director of Strong Towns, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focused on finding solutions for problems with existing land use patterns.
We had an excellent public participation for two previous speakers that we hosted as part of our efforts to update the Township’s Comprehensive Plan and hope that residents will join us for a similar opportunity on January 10th.
Marohn spoke in May at the Dauphin County Planning Commission’s annual dinner. Diane Krug, the Commission’s assistant director said, “The Strong Town’s message is a perfect complement to the comprehensive plan discussions.”
He will be presenting his “curbside chat,” which will cover
the causes and impacts of the current economic crisis,
case studies on the finances of America’s development pattern,
dead ideas of the suburban era, and
proposed strategies for adjusting to the new realities we face.
The program is free to the public and funded by individual donors from across Pa. No tax dollars are being used.
Space is limited.
To reserve your seat, please email me at SandyBallard@verizon.net or call the Township at 533-2057, option 5.
If you can’t make it on Jan 10, you can catch Chuck
1. Jan 9 at 2 PM – Manheim Township Public Library, 595 Granite Run Drive, Lancaster. Sponsored by Lancaster Planning Commission. Please RSVP to Donna Hahn at 717-299-8333, if you wish to attend.
2. Jan 10 at Noon – McCormick Riverfront Library, 101 Walnut Street, Harrisburg.
3. Other Pa Locations: http://www.strongtowns.org/pennsylvania-tour/
After seeing a speech by Mr Marohn, I wrote the following this past May. The Sun ran it:
Shine a Light
May 10, 2012
Essays from our readers
The Growth Ponzi Scheme
By Steve Todd
Recently, I attended the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission’s Annual Dinner. The keynote address was given by Strong Towns’ Chuck Marohn. Sandy Ballard, Paul Clark and Skip Memmi showed up. Sun Country Dauphin County Planning staffers Leah Pearlman-Storch and Diane Myers-Krug were on hand.
The message was clear, if not surprising: what Marohn called “The Growth Ponzi Scheme” is running out of resources. As Marohn correctly pointed out: “Local units of government do not have the capacity to invest in growth.” When new development and/or accumulation of debt to sustain it cease, we will have to do what Marohn’s poignant example of Littleton, CO and other financially distressed municipalities have done: invest in our existing infrastructure. Marohn disproved the popular misconception that enticing new development with tax and infrastructure give-aways grows the tax base. As Marohn specifically documented, these enticements do lead to short-term tax surpluses. But the surpluses last a couple of decades at best. Then come long-term – indeed, perpetual – maintenance deficits.
Sun Country must take action locally. Your municipal Comprehensive (or, Comp) Plan is supposed to be updated every 10 years; few are. Derry’s, for example, was last updated in 1991, and is just starting to be again. Ask about your Comp Plan and request funding for it. When it is being updated, go to the Planning Commission and Supervisors’ meetings and speak on the record. Advocate for mixed-use and forms-based zoning and building codes. Traditional zoning by land use district was intended to separate land uses. It worked … too well. Almost all of us now live where we can’t walk to work or commercial, retail or public establishments.
Back candidates who pledge to ensure development decisions consider our schools’ capacity and infrastructure costs. Bills strengthening this have come up and died in the PA General Assembly. With more support, one of those bills might make it, and leap-frog developers would pay their fair share. Push for and use public transportation. Traditional zoning coupled with a lack of investment in public transportation has made traffic jams worse than they should be.
There are other actions one could take. But we must take them. “The Growth Ponzi Scheme” will only be controlled at the local level … by We The People.
Steve Todd is a Derry Township citizen, reporter for The Sun, a municipal engineer and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional.