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To the editor,

I was pleased to see your editorial promoting the end of suburban planning and supporting open space.  But you didn’t address the equally antiquated real property laws that have encouraged suburban development.
When unused open space (by people, that is) is taxed at its maximum potential value, it only follows that it will fall to development, as that is where the maximum value lies.  If these undeveloped open spaces survive, they only serve to subsidize the partially developed areas, which continue to enjoy relatively low taxes.  Once land is developed, and the open space disappears, taxes rise and the inefficiency of suburban living is realized. 
One improvement would be to use income taxes to pay for schools.  School districts would become more uniform if Federal taxes were distributed equally for educational purposes.  This measure would, by itself, slow suburbanization.   
 
Jane Geisler
Verbank
 
Editor’s note:  Ms Geisler identifies a lurking problem in our planning systems. When property taxes rise beyond the point where owning land is viable, the only buyer is likely to be a developer. This happened in much of Long Island and New Jersey that is now suburban sprawl.  
Posted: 2/4/2015