I'm developing some raw tx server-side scripts and dealing with ValueNotConservedUTxO errors. If I create a transaction from a specific address, must I create inputs for all the utxos and then add the ones I'm not sending elsewhere to a change address?

Hopefully I'm just missing a key understanding else I really don't understand why such a waste of blockchain data would be part of the plan.

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No, you don't have to create inputs for all utxos at an address; but for every utxo you do add as an input, you need to spend it in full (i.e. including assets that may be included), so your outputs and inputs add up correctly (apart from the transaction fee).

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