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Sustainable Growth

Rexburg has the perfect mix of things needed for growth, land that’s open to develop, a growing populace, and people willing to invest to develop local projects. As a business owner I’ve experienced the headaches that come with growing a business and working with the city to developing a project. Sustainable, healthy growth in Rexburg comes through a few key things.

  1. Infrastructure
  2. City Investment
  3. Zoning

I believe that by addressing these key areas we can continue to grow, build safe neighborhoods for our families, and attract new businesses into Rexburg. Outlined below are current problems that need to be solved.

Infrastructure

First, infrastructure has to be a priority over other city projects. Our roads in Rexburg are congested, falling apart, and underfunded. Meanwhile more non-essential projects are being funded every year, many of which seem to be favorite projects of city officials. Why are we paying to build more parks in Rexburg while our roads are in disrepair and we can’t maintain them during the winter? Non-essential projects need to be sidelined until our roads can be adequately fixed and maintained.

While many roads in Rexburg are under the jurisdiction of state and federal entities, the city has not added any new roads to alleviate traffic on 2nd E and Main Street. Current plans to build new roads have been resisted by residents due to the impact that they’ll have on neighborhoods. The city needs to responsibly build roads on undeveloped ground outside of neighborhoods before these areas are developed with homes and businesses.

City Investment

One of government’s key responsibilities is to provide roads and infrastructure for its citizens. Traditionally this is done with property taxes and other revenues collected through permits and impact fees. Imagine being the employee of a multi-million dollar business. Your boss comes up to you one day and asks you to help pay for parking lot improvements because you park in the parking lot at work every morning. You’d be pretty upset with that right? That’s what the city is currently doing to residents with Local Improvement Districts. Residents are being billed for street and sidewalk improvements in their neighborhood, which they payback with interest. This is all happening while the city is currently sitting on a record amount of cash reserves.

The north end of Rexburg is where we will see a majority of growth over the next 10 years, it’s also where the city has almost no infrastructure other than what was present before being annexed. A number of locally owned businesses have attempted to develop projects on 2nd East, only to find out that the city wants them to foot the infrastructure bill for everyone else. These projects are then scrapped because they’re not financially feasible anymore, the project or property is then sold off to an out-of-state investor that has no stake in our community.

Zoning

Zoning is what gives a city structure and ensures that new projects don’t interfere with current residences and businesses. In addition, correct zoning ensures that the community is structured in a way that makes it a safe place to live and provides proper buffers between residences and busy thoroughfares. Rexburg needs strictly defined zoning in undeveloped areas so that our residents and businesses can be protected.

Rexburg’s current zoning rules are not adequate for sustainable growth. Lack of proper zoning in the past has led to a strange mixture of businesses and homes within the city. On our current path, many residents in the city are now facing the prospects of having new high-density housing projects in their backyards. In addition, areas that would be best suited for restaurants and businesses that would add significantly to the tax base will be occupied by expensive high-density housing.