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Re: [WorldTransport Forum] Land Taxation & Transportation (was: carsharing)

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  • Chris Bradshaw
    Dave Wetzel s Land-Valuation Taxation is an idea that has been around a long time. Several Pennsylvania municipalities have adopted it, as a way to encourage
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 22, 2004
      Dave Wetzel's Land-Valuation Taxation is an idea that has been around a long
      time. Several Pennsylvania municipalities have adopted it, as a way to
      encourage development of massive sites in older cities once used for
      industry.

      There are many in our Green Party who champion it, but I don't.

      The tax system would set taxes according to what the bureaucrats deemed the
      best use of each piece of land (and this subject to major shifts after each
      official plan review). It provides a way to give a break to someone who
      owns land having "natural heritage", but also prevents the owner from
      developing it at all. At the other extreme, it values land whose
      "locational values" are good at a very high level, inducing (or bullying)
      the owner to go ahead and develop it, since the taxes are the same as if he
      had. Those wanting a piece of land to use for its existing land uses would
      be pushed to buy land further out.

      It ignores the fact that market-set land values already take into account
      the locational values, even where the "location" consists of a view of
      "natural heritage" features.

      There is even a hybrid: a tax on increases in land-value owing to public
      expenditures (highways and subways are transportation amenities that add
      value to private land, which the public would recover). This would also
      become an incentive to the owners to develop the land quickly.

      I oppose both, since they increase taxes as densities increase, while higher
      densities usually have the effect of reducing "road dependency", not to
      mention the need for transit subsidies, and, if designed well, reduce a
      number of other local-government expenditures (police, thanks to increased
      "eyes on the street"; social welfare, thanks to increased neighbourliness,
      public health, due to increased fitness and a cleaner environment).

      I developed a "neighbourhood walkability index" in 1993 that I proposed be
      used for moderating property taxes: high walkability would reduce taxes by
      50% from the average, while very low would double them. Walkability would,
      therefore be an quality that would be collective sought _at the
      neighbourhood level_ (since all properties in its boundaries would benefit
      from the lower taxes that accompanied it). It would also more closely
      reflect the actual costs the municipality had to pay to service each
      neighbourhood's development, thus be somewhat revenue neutral, ensuring no
      cross-subsidies existed.

      Chris Bradshaw, Ottawa, Canada
      co-owner, Vrtucar carshare club

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: <martin.strid@...>
      To: <WorldTransport@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, April 21, 2004 8:44 AM
      Subject: SV: [WorldTransport Forum] car sharing


      Sorry I don't know anything about english tax system.
      In Sweden we have had for many years a "fastighetsskatt", or land property
      tax. The valuation of land which Dave outlines resembles the swedish model,
      which every houseowner is aware of.
      Every porperty has a taxation value, slightly less than the current market
      value though usually more than half of market value. The values are revised
      every few years.
      The tax is between 0,5% and 1,5% of taxation value, depending on kind of
      property (one family house, apartment building, industrial etc.
      There is a recently introduced rule that the property tax should not exceed
      a certain percentage of the person's income.
      As far as I know there has been no real discussion on the impacts of
      property tax on transport system or traffic amount.
      The reason may be lack of political will (or courage) to curb urbanisation.
      Though of course many believe the tax has a slight impact on settlement
      pattern. But the impact of market prices is much greater.

      Mvh
      # :-)



      -----Ursprungligt meddelande-----
      Från: Wetzel Dave [mailto:davewetzel@...]
      Skickat: den 21 april 2004 13:31
      Till: 'WorldTransport@yahoogroups.com'
      Ämne: RE: [WorldTransport Forum] car sharing


      Happy to answer Simon's question put to me personally.

      The Land Value Tax (LVT) would apply to all sites, residential, commercial,
      agriculture, open space etc. e.g. not using a site that has permission for
      houses, a factory or offices to be built on it, would not be an excuse for
      avoiding the tax.

      The valuation of the land would be based upon the "optimum permitted use".
      This means that the valuation is dependent upon the market's demand to use
      the site and the community's decision on how that site may be used. e.g. If
      the site has permission only to be used as public open space, then the
      valuation would be zero and the tax liability would be zero. If, however the
      decision is that the same site should be used for offices of a certain size,
      then the valuation would depend on the market's need for offices, of that
      size and in that location. Close to a major road or rail station this value
      would be higher than a similar sized site, with the same permission but
      farther away from the transport (all other things being equal). However, if
      the site was up a mountain there would be no market value for offices and
      the site value would probably depend upon farming (Sheep grazing?) or
      tourism.

      So, in this instance:
      If society insists no or few car spaces on a residential development, this
      could affect the value of the site.

      Depending on the site's location, such a policy may increase or reduce the
      land value and hence the annual income from LVT. e.g. If the site is in the
      middle of nowhere and is not served by public transport, then a policy to
      restrict car use may deter buyers and reduce the land value. Of course this
      may be slightly offset by being able to provide more houses or for each
      house to be built with more rooms and/or bigger gardens (using the land
      which would otherwise have been used for car parking).

      However, if the site is in a town centre with excellent public transport,
      many bus routes and a station close by then the unwanted car parking space
      now available for development will probably mean that this site is worth
      more than a comparable sized site enjoying the same location benefits but
      also having to find space for car parking either on the surface or by
      building an underground car park at much greater expense.

      LVT is sometimes referred to as "The Smart Tax". If your land value goes up
      then you pay more but if it goes down then you pay less. Used well this
      could encourage better use of land. For example, a farm restricted to
      organic farming with higher costs and a reduced output is likely to produce
      lower rents than if it were used for intensive farming. The lower LVT could
      encourage farmers to switch.

      Similarly with housing policy. LVT would be payable on empty sites so the
      owners would have an incentive to build the houses. This would protect green
      land from urban sprawl and enable our towns and cities to work more
      efficiently. (20 on a bus instead of 10).

      I hope this helps but happy to forward more information to anyone requesting
      it from me personally.

      Dave

      Dave Wetzel
      Vice-chair,
      Transport for London
      Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street.
      London. SW1H 0TL. UK.
      Tel 020 7941 4200

      Close to New Scotland Yard.
      Buses 11,24,148,211,N11 pass the door.
      Nearest Underground - St James's Park tube station.



      -----Original Message-----
      From: Simon Norton [mailto:s.norton@...]
      Sent: 18 April 2004 17:56
      To: worldtransport@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [WorldTransport Forum] car sharing


      I think that the key issue as far as developed societies are concerned is to
      link car sharing with car-free living.

      A certain proportion of new housing should be built without any facilities
      whatsoever for individual car ownership, except possibly the odd space or so
      that might be needed by people who move in and then achieve some kind of
      disability for which an individual car is the most appropriate solution. All
      other residents of these developments would rely on car sharing for access
      to private transport.

      Given that in the UK three major issues are the lack of affordable housing,
      the amount of countryside being eaten up by new developments, and the
      effects of the traffic they generate, we should surely take urgent steps to
      pursue such a policy which could tackle all three problems simultaneously.

      The provision of new car-free developments would go together with public
      transport improvements. This would provide a secure financial underpinning
      for rail network development and rural bus provision -- both sadly lacking
      at the moment.

      And, as I have already recommended for London, vehicles used in car sharing
      schemes could be offered discounts, denied to other local residents, on
      congestion charging schemes within the local area.

      Can Dave Wetzel let us know how his land tax proposals would relate to this
      policy ?

      Incidentally, as one who has never left the industrialised world, I would
      like to be enlightened as to the land use implications of rising car
      ownership in other countries, i.e. do motorists have problems finding
      somewhere to keep their cars ? Do they, perhaps, resort (not necessarily
      deliberately, but in a process which ends up that way) to driving poorer
      people into remote shanty towns so as to create space for garages ?

      Simon Norton





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    • Tramsol@aol.com
      In a message dated 23/04/04 09:15:27 GMT Daylight Time, ... There is a mechanism which could be applied in the UK on commercial property to incentivise
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 23, 2004
        In a message dated 23/04/04 09:15:27 GMT Daylight Time, chris@... writes:


        I developed a "neighbourhood walkability index" in 1993 that I proposed be
        used for moderating property taxes: high walkability would reduce taxes by
        50% from the average, while very low would double them


        There is a mechanism which could be applied in the UK on commercial property to incentivise location of journey generators where these enhance use of public transport and lo impact personal transport modes.  That could take the local modal split and set a target for a property owner to operate with a trip consumption strategy (Travel Plan) which met targets to reduce or maintain set levels of modal split on staff and visitor trips generated by the site, and claim the rebate by submitting an auditable retrun to prove they were delivering.  It would raise awareness considerably if the site owner realised that thay could slash their business rates bill, by cutting the impact of their operation in generating private car, and delivery vehicle traffic.

        I suspect that the development near here of Braehead, which has 6500 car parking spaces, and a dedicated motorway spur, might have directed some of the money spent on this to retaining the rail line into the site, and reopening it for passenger services.  The lack of PT awareness and being held to account for adding seriously to traffic on an already busy motorway is well demonstrated here by the failure to work on re-using the rail line and connecting with their development, over 2000 proposed new homes and a major nearby town with no rail station, and ignoring the fact that 2/3 of their customers live North of the River Clyde - just 2 minutes away across the nearby passenger ferry - opting instead to force them to make a 20 minute (or longer trip) East, to cross at the Kingston Bridge or Clyde Tunnel.

        A mechanism for rates concessions does exist, so that a 'good' site can be rewarded, and actaully see a positive reward in contributing to new PT facilities, which should in turn benefit from increased patronage - perhaps a virtuous circle? 
        Dave Holladay
        Glasgow

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