PropertyProf Blog

Editor: Stephen Clowney
Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Land Use in the Nation's Capitol

Over at the Atlantic Cities Blog, David Schleicher (George Mason) takes on D.C.'s height restrictions:

I don’t think the basic look of D.C. would be at risk if the Height Act was repealed. And I think these aesthetic values are odd, at best. But if you do love D.C.’s aesthetic and have a different view of local politics than I do, at what point would the value of keeping the aesthetic become too costly? Ryan Avent estimates that as of 1998, the “shadow tax" of the Height Act and other restrictions in downtown D.C. alone equaled roughly $1.4B in forgone real estate value. (And that was using 1998 numbers, so it’s a very conservative figure.) At what point does imposing a particular aesthetic become too costly? Is there a dollar figure one associates with this kind of thing?  If not, why not?

Steve Clowney

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