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To The Point

The Munday Courier of Munday, Texas

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The more things change, the more things stay the same. While there is some truth to this statement, more often things work in a way that allows for very little change. Many people prefer the current state of affairs because they don't like to take risks. They are comfortable with things as they are, or the status quo.

Fearing radical change, many people prefer to stay in the current condition, even if that condition is not the best. They consider less than favorable circumstances to be better than the unknown. In other words, change is not necessarily considered progress. This is known as status quo bias.

Growth is one of those major changes that is resisted by the status quo. Would we allow growth for Munday? Some would call growth progress, a nasty word to some.

Not every city has the proper political and social environment to sustain growth. In fact, there are some cities who are completely opposed to growth and work hard to maintain the status quo, regardless of how the world is changing around them.

Land developers and investors specifically look for cities that are open to growth and progress. Municipalities open to growth and development are prime locations to build large commercial and multi-family properties. These cities often have future land use maps where they outline land and color code them based on the zonings, or type of properties they will allow within the border. This is a city that is looking to grow and they actually have a plan for it. These cities will be ready to help you with anything you need to get that land developed, especially with a growing population or major change in infrastructure.

The cities that are not open to growth have three major characteristics that are clear signs that growth or development are NOT in their future.

The first is purely political. Even if city officials are pro-business and development, well-organized opposition can sway votes and cause projects to die. Maybe not with the city, but with the people in the city as well. City officials may have an election coming up or there are strong opposing forces and any major moves may hurt their campaign and position. It could even carry to the lenders in that if they realize there is opposition, even though they could say "Yes," they will say "No," to avoid public ridicule. Politics can be a huge constraint to growth in a city.

The second is that the people voted into local office are usually elected to keep the city the way things are. In other words they are committed to keep things the same so growth and development are out of the question. They focus in maintaining not growing which is suicide for a developer. You can bet 30 acres of raw land zoned commercial will not be approved as a new mall or office park. The red tape and barriers would be so thick, that it would take years before a project would ever be approved, or ever approved. City officials would simply lay every obstacle in your route before they would allow such changes. These are cities a land developer MUST avoid unless they want to spend 3-5 years spending money and trying to get a project approved.

The third is state law might somehow restrict local governments from planning growth. There may be strict environmental guidelines, for instance, that would delay or kill a project before it even gets off the ground. Developers do not like to be in that position.

There are many reasons why a land developer and investor would not want to work in a specific city. You can ask the local brokers if the municipality is open to development. They will either say, yes definitely, in fact, they may mention that the local government will provide tax incentives for the jobs that are created and will be willing to help any way they possible can. Or, you may get, our city government is very strict and it takes a while for projects to be approved. If you don't come away with a good feeling that they will work with you and your proposal, it's time to walk away.

It's official now, Munday has lost about 14 percent of our population since last census. What does this news say to us in Munday? Or we okay with the way things are going, or would we like to see change? The way things are going means death to Munday at some point sooner than later.

Copyright 2011 The Munday Courier, Munday, Texas. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: March 3, 2011

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