Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Another Argument for Benefits of Zoning

We keep hearing in the news about the terrible wild fires in California. And, we know that California like many states has budget issues. Evidently to pay the high price to fight these fires, the governor has a plan to place a fee on land to be paid by the land owners to cover the costs of fighting fires.

This is not so unusual as in most rural areas, rural landowners pay for the costs of fire control through our township levy. The truth of the matter is that when we live in the country, we need to accept the fact that if a fire happens, we will lose the building. Our levy only pays for the control of the fire so it does not take other buildings.

In California, the proposal is to put a charge on every acre - so ranchers etc who need larger tracts of land to care for livestock or to grow crops will pay more than the rural homeowner who has two or three acres. As one writer indicated, this is hardly fair as there are some tracts of land that actually benefit from an occasional burn. It would appear that the problem is with too many homes in rural areas and not a convenient vehicle to pay for their fire protection.

This is a good example of why development is more efficient and accomplishes the best use of all resources when it is only allowed within incorporated areas where there is access to good roads for fire engines to get there, adequate water supplies and pressure, access to power etc. Of course the other side of this is that incorporated areas are also the sources of safe sewers and drainage provisions. There are many other arguments for this, like fewer miles for school bus to travel, easier law enforcement etc. But the subject is fire protection here. Time will tell what the decision makers in California come up with. But allowing houses scattered here and there in all areas is inefficient, costly, and not the highest and best use of the land. end

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