Posts Tagged ‘land use and zoning’

Environment roundup

“Sacramento Wants to Boost Rail Ridership By Banning Drive-Throughs and Gas Stations Near Transit”

It’s almost as if making life inconvenient for drivers is seen as a goal in itself: “City staff [in California’s capital city of Sacramento] are drafting an ordinance that would ban building new gas stations, drive-throughs, and other auto-related businesses within a quarter mile of any of the city’s 23 light rail stations. …Other businesses ‘not considered transit-supportive’ — car lots, auto repair businesses, manufacturing sites, wholesale outlets — would still be allowed, but only if the city grants them a special permit.” [Christian Britschgi, Reason]

Land use and development roundup

Housing roundup

  • “One year ago, Portland enacted inclusionary zoning. One year later, “apartment construction in Portland has fallen off a cliff.”” [@michael_hendrix citing Dirk VanderHart, Portland Mercury] Better policy is to focus on building supposedly unaffordable housing [Scott Sumner]
  • Intractable problems of residential zoning and of public schooling in the U.S. have a great deal to do with each other [Salim Furth, American Affairs]
  • New NBER study “suggests building energy codes hurt the poor, too” [Vanessa Brown Calder, Cato]
  • Upzoning of Dumbo helped catalyze Brooklyn’s revival [Ira Stoll] How Henry George and followers influenced NYC property and tax policy, and the tax deal that helped touch off the Manhattan building boom of the 1920s [Daniel Wortel-London, The Metropole]
  • How to live in some apartments forever without paying, and more tips for unscrupulous NYC tenants [Jeremiah Budin, Curbed]
  • For “but,” read “therefore”: “Marin County has long resisted growth in the name of environmentalism. But high housing costs and segregation persist.” [David Henderson, quoting]

“Detroit just banned Airbnb without anyone knowing it”

Infuriating: Detroit says it will take a pause for legal review before enforcing a new zoning ordinance that would ban homeowners through much of the city from accepting AirBnB rentals. The ordinance would interpret rentals as home-based businesses, which are disallowed in residential zones, and on its face appears to prohibit taking in even friends or relatives to share quarters if the person pays rent. Following a public outcry, the city council put out word that it does not intend to ban AirBnB and will amend the ordinance if necessary to avoid that. [Tom Perkins/Metro Times, Robin Runyan, Curbed Detroit, Deadline Detroit]

Housing roundup

  • “The Rent is Too High and the Commute is Too Long: We Need Market Urbanism” [Andrew Criscione, Market Urbanism] Is excessive regulation making it costly to build starter homes? Ask the New York Times [Ira Stoll]
  • Good: Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Paul Gosar have introduced a bill to eliminate outright the Obama administration’s meddlesome AFFH (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing) rule [Vanessa Brown Calder, earlier]
  • “Dollar home” programs show mostly sparse results in urban revitalization, especially when regulatory strings come attached [Jared Alves, Greater Greater Washington]
  • Too radical to pass? Bill 827 in California would impose upzoning on transit corridors [Ilya Somin] California wildfires will worsen Bay Area housing shortage, but where’d that shortage come from? [Enrico Moretti, NYT] “Why Does Land-Use Regulation (Still) Matter in Oregon?” [Calder, Cato]
  • New from NBER: “Rent Control Raises Housing Costs” [Charles Hughes, Economics21] Study “provides strong evidence of rent control’s damaging effects” [Calder]
  • “Blockchain technology can empower public and private efforts to register property rights on a single computer platform,” with particular benefits for poorer societies in which property rights remain ill-defined [Phil Gramm and Hernando de Soto, WSJ/AEI, Arnold Kling] “The U.S. property title system is a disgrace. It could be fixed with blockchain. But it also could be fixed without blockchain.” [Kling]

Environment roundup

Environment roundup

Environment roundup

“Zoning, Land-Use Planning, and Housing Affordability”

New Cato Policy Analysis by Vanessa Brown Calder, here is the executive summary:

Local zoning and land-use regulations have increased substantially over the decades. These constraints on land development within cities and suburbs aim to achieve various safety, environmental, and aesthetic goals. But the regulations have also tended to reduce the supply of housing, including multifamily and low-income housing. With reduced supply, many U.S. cities suffer from housing affordability problems.

This study uses regression analysis to examine the link between housing prices and zoning and land-use controls. State and local governments across the country impose substantially different amounts of regulation on land development. The study uses a data set of court decisions on land use and zoning that captures the growth in regulation over time and the large variability between the states. The statistical results show that rising land-use regulation is associated with rising real average home prices in 44 states and that rising zoning regulation is associated with rising real average home prices in 36 states. In general, the states that have increased the amount of rules and restrictions on land use the most have higher housing prices.

The federal government spent almost $200 billion to subsidize renting and buying homes in 2015. These subsidies treat a symptom of the underlying problem. But the results of this study indicate that state and local governments can tackle housing affordability problems directly by overhauling their development rules. For example, housing is much more expensive in the Northeast than in the Southeast, and that difference is partly explained by more regulation in the former region. Interestingly, the data show that relatively more federal housing aid flows to states with more restrictive zoning and land-use rules, perhaps because those states have higher housing costs. Federal aid thus creates a disincentive for the states to solve their own housing affordability problems by reducing regulation.

Related: finding common ground between Cato and the Urban Institute on land use regulation [Vanessa Brown Calder and Rolf Pendall; Calder; James Rogers] “California Tries To Fix Housing Affordability Crisis By Making Housing More Expensive” [Christian Britschgi, Reason]