Monday, April 23, 2012

Land Use Rules & Disaster Relief, Ctd.

Over at Environmental Law Prof, Tim Mulvaney responds to the Wall Street Journal op-ed on land use rules and disaster relief that we linked to last week.  To recap, the editorial unfavorably compared Tuscaloosa's "top-down" response to rebuilding, with the more business-friendly approach taken by Joplin, MO.  Tim's takehome point:

It is not clear that baseline [the op-ed chooses to measure success]—simply quantifying the number of, or the speed with which, permits are issued or buildings are repaired or reconstructed—is an appropriate metric for a recovery’s success. [. . .]  While . . . [Tuscaloosa's mayor] vaguely referred to the long-term focus of Tuscaloosa’s recovery, it would have been interesting to hear a more spirited defense of the advantages of such an approach in light of Beito and Smith’s utter rejection of it.  It seems that expedient post-disaster comprehensive planning can breed a high quality and safe rebuilding effort that demonstrates a respect and concern for long-term consequences for both communities and individuals—and public and private property rights—and is conducted in a fair, transparent manner.

Steve Clowney

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