Posts Tagged ‘real estate’

ADA and disabled rights roundup

July 31 roundup

Land use and zoning roundup

  • NYC landmark decree will strangle famed Strand used bookstore, says owner [Nancy Bass Wyden, New York Daily News, Nick Gillespie, Reason, earlier] NIMBY resistance to Dupont Circle project behind Masonic Temple insists on preserving views that weren’t there until fairly recently [Nick Sementelli, Greater Greater Washington]
  • “Barcelona city hall has finally issued a work permit for the unfinished church designed by the architect Antoni Gaudí, 137 years after construction started on the Sagrada Família basilica.” [AP/Guardian] At least they’re not in one of the American towns and cities that would make them tear down work outside the scope of permit before proceeding;
  • FHA lending tilts heavily toward detached single-family housing over condos, encouraging sprawl [Scott Beyer]
  • “San Francisco’s Regulations Are the Cause of Its Housing Crisis” [Beyer]
  • “What Should I Read to Understand Zoning?” [Nolan Gray, Market Urbanism]
  • I think we can all guess which union was not cut into a share of the work in this Bay Area housing development [Jennifer Wadsworth, San Jose Inside (Laborers union files CEQA suit), Christian Britschgi, Reason]

Dodgy deeds in Philadelphia, cont’d

Last July we noted (“How To Steal a House In Philadelphia”) some remarkable journalism by Craig R. McCoy for the Philadelphia Daily News about the theft of real estate through forgery and other skullduggery. Now he’s back with more amazement: “In at least seven deals involving [the protagonist] or his associates, there’s a simple reason to be sure that the deeds were forged. In each case, the ‘signers’ were dead at the time. At the most extreme, someone forged the name of a woman who had died 36 years before.” [Craig R. McCoy, Philadelphia Daily News]

Related: “Man Charged After Allegedly Stealing 6 Philadelphia Homes From ‘Poor, Elderly, And Deceased,’ DA Says” [CBS Philadelphia]

How Hudson Yards connects to Harlem

What an amazing story: “Manhattan’s new luxury mega-project [Hudson Yards] was partially bankrolled by an investor visa program called EB-5, which was meant to help poverty-stricken areas.” The far West Side of lower Manhattan, not far from Tribeca, the Village, and Chelsea, is hardly known for its poverty, but creative subsidy seekers carved out an “area” that connected the Hudson Yards site, gerrymander style, through midtown and Central Park to public housing projects in Harlem. And presto: access to benefits meant to revive high-unemployment urban areas. [Kriston Capps, CityLab]

Reader David Link writes:

It’s only bad if you think the point of the Poverty/Industrial Complex is designed to alleviate poverty, rather than just being a set of white collar jobs programs. This gerrymander is a visual example of the usual, multiple links between poverty/social justice/community improvement rhetoric and the people who ultimately benefit. From what I’ve heard, it sounds like a good step for New York, and the only excess cost is to those who aren’t skeptical enough to accept the rhetoric.

Buying a home? Feds want to know your identity

Another valued little piece of financial privacy being lost: in the name of enforcing money laundering and know your customer regulations, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has expanded a program the effect of which is to require disclosure of your identity if you buy a home in some parts of country [Kathleen Pender, San Francisco Chronicle]

Related: British financial regulators adopt new approach of “shifting the burden of proof onto foreign investors; they must now prove their wealth is legitimate.” [Jeffrey Miron, Cato]

Investigative series: NYC home seizures

Kings County Politics investigates a series of cases in which New York City has seized the properties of Brooklyn homeowners after procedurally or substantively dubious findings of distressed condition or tax/water arrears. In some cases the city then hands the property over to politically connected developers. “Public Advocate Letitia James [has] called for a temporary freeze of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s (HPD) Third-Party Transfer (TPT) program” to address the concerns. [Stephen Witt and Kelly Mena, Kings County Politics]

Mississippi: drawing digital lines on satellite map requires surveyor’s license

The state of Mississippi insists that a company called Vizaline, by selling a program that uses satellite imagery to translate “metes and bounds” language into polygonal lines on a map, is practicing land surveying without a license, and should be made to shut down and refund all money it has earned in the state. Attorneys from the Institute for Justice say that virtual land measurement is not only not part of an occupation subject to licensure, but is a form of expression and communication and subject to First Amendment protections. [Cyrus Farivar, ArsTechnica]