Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Will Doing explains how land use rules designed to halt the spread of urban renewal projects in the 70s have had taken on new life as the preferred tool of NIMBY obstructionists:
These rules, designed to check the power of city officials, now perversely consolidate immense power in the hands of a few outspoken “concerned citizens.” By dragging out the building process indefinitely, these people can make it so expensive that deep-pocketed luxury developers have a better chance of surviving it than anyone actually building affordable housing. Worst of all, these rules have created a new norm in which individual residents just assume that their personal opinions should carry great weight in routine planning decisions. According to a 2011 survey, one in five Americans have actively opposed a local development project, and 74 percent want no new development in their communities at all.