August 11, 2004

More Inane Zoning Restrictions

Category: Urban Planning

Suburban DC: It's easy to blame developers for the ill-effects of suburban sprawl, but more often than not it's the zoning regulations that produce many of our problems and discourage many creative solutions.

In Clarksburg, MD, a newly developing "town", permits have been approved for development expected to bring 40,000 jobs to the area. Despite that, only 15,000 homes will be permitted, forcing the majority of workers to commute long distances from elsewhere.

Because workplaces pay more taxes than homeowners, this imbalance is encouraged. The problem is that it exacerbates sprawl, traffic congestion, pollution and all the other things that erode everyone's quality of life. As for the solution, I'm not sure! Ideas?

Posted by Nick at August 11, 2004 06:22 AM | TrackBack


The second and third parts of that series are interesting as well. Part 2 discusses how people are willing to put up with horrible commutes in order to afford big houses on big lots. Part 3 discusses how even when government and developers are behind smart-growth initiatives, they are often killed by NIMBYs.

Posted by: Joe Ganley on August 11, 2004 07:01 AM

Personal Rapid Transit and transit hubs

Posted by: david on August 14, 2004 09:01 PM

Well, since commercial development seems to yield soooo much more in taxes to its host communities (hence the commercial development craze), what is preventing these same communities from simply raising the residential tax rate? In a place like the D.C. area, I would think that a lot of people would gladly pay higher residential taxes rather than having to commute from Pennsylvania or WV. With the money they save on gas and car maintenance, they might still come out on top money-wise, not to mention saving a lot of commuting time. This would also help out the communities in question as the higher residential tax would offset the losses caused by the lack of commercial development.

Posted by: Qualimony on August 22, 2004 10:29 AM

In California, it is impossible to raise standard residential propety taxes (Proposition 13).

Of course, that means new home buyers pay often outrageous "impact fees"-further exacerbating the costs of housing (on the other hand, why should the general community pay the costs of servicing new houses-often at the expense of older, declining neighborhoods that don't get shiny new amenities and infrastructure)

Posted by: brian miller on August 31, 2004 02:16 PM
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