August 11, 2014

Zoning people out of cities

By Jonathan Wood Attorney

A recent New York Times article reports that Americans are moving in droves from expensive, highly centralized cities to cities with more affordable housing. In the last ten years, the number of people who moved more than 500 miles cited the cost of housing as their main motivation. Large cities on the eastern seaboard and California have been particularly punished by this shift.

Perhaps this should serve as a wake-up call for the planners behind Plan Bay Area. As we’ve reported many times, Plan Bay Area is designed to severely restrict development in the San Francisco bay area, purportedly to comply with a state mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But, as PLF’s lawsuit explains, that’s simply not true. The state mandated target would be met anyway because of declining emissions, and improving vehicle and fuel technologies. But that didn’t stop the bureaucrats behind the plan. They misled the public and pushed it through anyway.

Perhaps the New York Times has identified the reason: restrictive zoning and development restrictions are exceedingly unpopular. They deny residents their American dream, all the while causing the cost of housing to skyrocket. It’s no surprise that San Francisco remains the most expensive metropolitan area in the country. Under Plan Bay Area, and other incredibly foolish SF policies, that’s only going to get worse.

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