I just got back from Phoenix, Ariz. Boy am I glad to be home. Of course, the heat was a killer. It was humid, too. But mostly I am glad to be home where I feel at home and there is a sense of rhyme and reason to my life.
We have been visiting Phoenix for almost 10 years now. It was big and sprawling then, now it just seems out of control. They are moving outward and inward, filling up every bit of available space. Because there are so many people moving into the area every day, they need to keep building new roads, which displace people and businesses. When those people and establishments move they have to move out to the edges, then they all need new roads to service those people. It is a never ending cycle.
The Wasatch Front is undergoing the same kind of uncontrolled growth. Homes are being built by the hundreds. The homes sprawl up the mountains and fill in the washes, fields and green spaces. Each time I venture over the mountain there is a new subdivision somewhere along the route that had never existed before. Then comes the battle for services and businesses to move in as well to accommodate the needs of the new community.
Even though Price has had an almost zero net gain in population over the last few years, we are seeing a bit of that type of sprawl here as well. We have several new subdivisions competing for homeowners.
I suppose it is human nature to want to look for new frontiers. I guess moving to the edge of town and owning a brand new home, in an area few others have moved to yet may be as close as some of us get to homesteading the wild west. I certainly have dreamed of owning some land out in the country and having a home built to my own specifications. I then wouldn't want everyone else moving next to me and doing the same thing.
Sprawling growth not only fills up land and spaces that have been traditionally open areas, but it taxes a community's infrastructure. New roads need to be constructed and maintained. Police, ambulance and fire service are stretched. Schools and churches may also need to be built.
I am not anti growth by any means. I just think we need to make sure we have a plan for how we would like to see growth happen in our community. Questions need to be answered. What area should not be developed, and where is it best to look at for further expansion? Are we willing to pay for growth if it means higher taxes for services?
I know our commissioners and city councils look at these issues all the time. I hope our community examines these issues as part of a big picture and not a piece meal approach to each new subdivision.
But anyway, in the few days we were gone, it was nice to come home and not see a hundred new houses sprout up over night in the fields between Price and Helper.