We observe, across our nation, that taxes go up after major development, even though the developers promise the opposite. Why? Developers get rich by making the community pay the long-term costs of their development. Projects like the one proposed for Richmond Hill have real, externalized costs, as well as intangible costs. We need to identify those costs and ask who will pay for them.
Riverside Drive will need to be expanded and traffic lights added to cover the increased traffic, estimated to be more than 3,000 vehicle trips each day. Who will pay for the expansion? The landowner, the developer or the local taxpayers?
The development will need a bridge over the river and railroad tracks. Who will pay for the bridge? The landowner, the developer or the local taxpayers?
After the development is done and the developer leaves with his moneybag, who will pay to maintain the bridge and the roads through the development? Will the landowner and residents of the Bluffs cover the entire costs, or will the other residents of Woodfin be required to cover part of the maintenance costs?
If the construction vehicles are permitted to use Asheville city roads through Richmond Hill, they will tear up the roads, leading to costly repairs. Will Asheville city taxpayers have to cover these costs, while all the tax revenues from the development go to Woodfin?
After the development increases local traffic by 3,000 trips each day, we will all pay the costs related to sitting in the traffic jam. Just consider the traffic problems that have followed development on the south side of Asheville and the regular delays on Interstate 26.
There will be other related infrastructure costs. Who will pay to maintain the water and sewer lines, expanding the schools, fire department and other related services? It won’t be the developer. And without a clear plan upfront, it won’t be just the landowner and new residents.
When the landowner realizes he can increase his profits by expanding the project, loading down infrastructure even further, we will all pay the related costs. What prevents this from happening?
This list fails to address very real, but less tangible environmental costs, such as stormwater runoff, and social costs such as neighborhoods ceasing to be walkable by their own residents as the increased traffic makes walking unsafe. How will these costs be managed? Who will be held responsible?
For those accusing the Richmond Hill community of NIMBYism, we have simple questions. Are you willing to have your taxes raised so that a Florida developer can make a quick buck? By how much? Are you willing to tell your own children they cannot ride their bike in front of their own house because there is too much traffic?
— Karl Kuhn