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Editor: Stephen Clowney
Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Zoning Houston

Matt Yglesias makes a fine point about Houston:

Whenever I talk about anti-density land use restrictions, someone inevitably brings up Houston, where people have heard there are no zoning rules. If overregulation causes low density, people ask, then how come Houston is so sprawling? There are a number of reasons this line of questioning is a mistake, but the most fundamental one is that people misunderstand what "no zoning" means in the Houston context. . . . In fact, the city features extensive regulation of minimum lot size and maximum parking requirements just like every other major American city.

Property Profs might also find this recent article from the Houston Chronicle of interest.  It outlines some recent changes to Houston's scheme of land use regulation.

Steve Clowney

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/property/2011/12/zoning-houston.html

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See also Michael Lewyn's excellent article describing some of the many land use regulations that Houston has (despite their avoidance of the Z-word), "How Overregulation Creates Sprawl (Even in a City Without Zoning)," http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=837244

The "urban/suburban" ordinance change will be before the City Council on the same day as the "residential buffer ordinance" (f/k/a the "high density ordinance"), which will put a bunch of extra site requirements (max height, setbacks, etc.) on land adjacent to properties characterized as "single-family residential."

How this isn't effectively a form of zoning, I'm not quite sure. But it doesn't use the z-word.

Posted by: Matt Festa | Dec 2, 2011 6:32:03 AM

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