Environmental and property rights roundup

One Comment

  • “Time for a radical step: strip local government of its project-blocking powers”

    These ideas are laughable. The author asks for two seemingly conflicting things simultaneously. He wants to give developers carte blanche to build whatever they want, subject only to statewide guidelines, no matter what the local community thinks is best (even though he keeps making the point that the country is a big place where different communities have different needs, apparently one set of rules is good enough for the entire state). At the same time, he wants to shrink federal infrastructure spending and rely on privately funded infrastructure.

    So how would this work in practice? Let’s consider some of the lower density areas of San Francisco, where I live, like the Richmond or Sunset districts. The state swoops in, takes away all zoning authority from the city, and decides these areas can support four times the current density. Single family homeowners cash in on their land, which is now vastly more valuable, and the building boom commences. How is the infrastructure needed to support that growth managed? If local governments have no control over development, then surely they also can’t collect impact fees from developers to fund the necessary infrastructure like water treatment plants, streetlights, etc… (If you allowed local governments this kind of authority under your system, surely they would use it as a de facto form of control over development: “we want $80 billion if you build that high rise there, so don’t bother.”) Will the city’s public transit system, already vastly overtaxed, suddenly be able to carry hundreds of thousands of new passengers a day? Will parking lots for tens of thousands of new cars appear downtown? Will the roads connecting these denser neighborhoods and downtown suddenly get wider?