Saturday, February 08, 2003
More Loopage

Mark Lane has some info up in this post about a parade and picnic today, Saturday, 8 February 2003, that the Save the Loop folks are putting on.

While no one has asked me, I think someone might say, "Tim, given how anti-developer you seem to be regarding the beach, what's with your fence-sitting regarding The Loop?" Good question.

I find it hard to convince myself that some or many of the Save the Loop folks don't have mixed motivations in the matter. I think they ought to make explicit the impact of development in that part of town on their own property values.

Those parts of the loop that are already developed are home to some pretty pricey houses. Would more development in that part of town have a negative or positive impact on the net worth of folks in those parts of the loop that are already developed.

I mean, we're talking increased traffic, which is a downer, but we're also talking new development of high value, which should increase values. That's not a show stopper: I'd just like to see it made more explicit. (The trick is not to not have conflicts of interest. The trick is to make them explicit so they can be managed openly.)

My concern is that the entire story is being framed as strictly environmental, preservationist, recreational, when it ought to be obvious to anyone who takes the ride that there are financial impacts, too. I can't drive past a riverfront million-dollar home with a "Save the Loop" sign in the front yard without cynically asking what the primary objective of saving the loop is: Preserve a shared asset or protect one groups' property values while refusing to allow others to develop their properties.

If it's truly a shared asset, then maybe the county, or the state (yeah, right) should buy the appropriate properties. Or seize them with fair compensation through imminent domain.

And, to further attempt to answer the original question honestly, I live two blocks from the beach, but ten or so miles from The Loop. The Loop is not in my backyard.