Let Us Come Together
Trade-offs of desirable elements are negotiated under agreed-upon constraints. Why should the hard limits be placed on population count and geographical area, rather than other metrics? One nice thing about them is that they are objective and strictly measurable, and they can be agreed upon beforehand. Another is that all would agree Longmont can not approach, let alone exceed, the size of Los Angeles, so some limit clearly exists. If we can agree that growth is itself not a desirable thing, though so far it has been a consequence of what we have chosen to do, then let’s just agree on the default that land-leech growth shall be zero and do the rest of our machinations within that constraint. If you tell me that land-leech growth is inevitable, you must tell me what is gained by it that can not be otherwise attained by determined effort and city-nutrition development. It is not hard to cap population; you simply cease issuing building permits, water taps, or certificates of occupancy. Area growth is even easier: just do no more annexations for housing.
Similarly, it’s not hard getting down from a tree – you just let go. In each case, limiting growth and descending from a tree, you should give some thought to the landing, but it’s not at all impossible.
Land-leech growth dilutes resources for current residents. Annexation for housing attracts population growth as a tautology. That’s why these two caps, one on population, the other on annexed area.