Garner council members hope a change to an arcane policy will induce builders to work here.
The policy is one that dictates how much of the town’s unused water supply is to be set aside for the constrution of new homes.
Governments at all levels have long used tax policies and other rules and regulations to encourage favored behavious and discourage negative ones. Consider tax credits issued for people who own their homes instead of renting. Or think about about taxes on tobacco that raise the cost of cigarettes so high that many people just quit rather than paying the higher price.
The city of Raleigh determines how much additional water the town receives each year. Whatever is excess, generally, is available for the town to use as it wishes.
In the past, Garner leaders have pushed to make industrial development a greater priority and the division of water resources reflected that desire.
It is generally an effective way of promoting growth.
The pitfall, for council members, is to be sure the policy is applied in such a way that it does not eliminate any class of housing. Council members would most surely rather see larger, nicer homes that bring more value to the town’s tax base, than to see entire neighborhoods filled with smaller homes destined to become rental properties that will make it harder for the town to provide services.
Other towns have been ruled out of bounds in court for devising plans that for all practical purposes, eliminated the construction of small homes.
The new policy, properly carried out, will avoid that. As well it should.