Friday, December 22, 2006
[Southern California week, final post ...]
Don't like competition from businesses with locational advantages? Don't like the kind of people who rent next door? One potential solution is use the power of government regulation to hinder unwanted land uses -- without having to go so far as to legally ban the land use. The power to regulate for the public interest turns into the power to regulate for the benefit of some.
Big Bear Lake, Cal., is a mountain oasis surrounded by tall trees and meadows that looks more like Colorado than its true location in the San Bernardino Mountains northeast of Los Angeles. It is also a center for thousands of popular vacation homes and rentals. This fact both annoys some permanent residents, who dislike the traffic, noise, and other minor nuisances of vacationers, and annoys competing hostelries in nearby communities. Opponents have combined in an effort to impose a host of burdensome government land use regulations (paved parking lot requirements, etc.) on rentals in Big Bear Lake. This story appears to highlight once again the difficulty of distinguishing land use regulations that are reasonable and proportionate to address true public harms and land use regulations that are the product of local protectionism.