by Timothy Sandefur
Pacific Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit yesterday against the city of Cotati, California, for a city ordinance that violates the property rights of home builders by forcing them to provide price-controlled housing for the public in exchange for permission to build. You can read more about it here. When property owner Michael Mead applied for a permit to build eight residential units on his land, city bureaucrats demanded that he either charge less than the market price for two of his units, or hand over money to the city. In addition, both state and federal agencies demanded that he "dedicate" land off-site (meaning pay for the purchase of land somewhere else which he would not be allowed to develop) to provide land for salamanders to enjoy, despite the fact that no salamander has been found on or near the site of his project anyway.
This is, alas, typical of the burdens government places on America's wealth producers: the people who build the homes we live in and the businesses where we shop. These burdens prevent the production of new homes, thereby creating shortages that drive up housing costs. And they obstruct the creation of new opportunities for those who need homes in order to protect salamanders, plants, and insects, thereby elevating their needs above the needs of human beings. But most importantly, they violate every person's human right to private property, one of the essential guarantees of our individuality and one of the cornerstones of America's Constitution.