Thursday, June 18, 2009
“Conformity” is a failing of land use that I often attempt to skewer. But as the United States becomes more diverse in myriad ways, and the benefits of diversity become more widely know, governments are slowly breaking down some of the barriers of conformity in land use law.
The Florida legislature recently passed a bill that would allow home owners to trump any homeowners’ association rules or local ordinances that otherwise would require nicely watered grass lawns, if the homeowner has a “Florida-friendly landscape” of plants and soils that tolerate heat and drought. Under the current law, only rules and laws adopted since 2001 can be trumped. The bill would also clarify that citizens may abide by drought emergency rules without being penalized (lawfully) by their HOA. After years of drought and continual pressure on fresh-water supplies in a growing state surrounded on most sides by salt water, many environmentalists suggest that domestic water conservation is one of the important land use steps that Florida needs to take.
Slowly, the ideas of conformity – such as the idea that house property in a hot, sandy state such a Florida has to include stereotypical northeastern grass lawns simply because this is what most people have thought it SHOULD look like – are losing their grip. Good thing …
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