Local update: On zoning.

Looking at a map of the comprehensive plan in Chesapeake for 2035 and transportation plan for 2050.

One of the things that really strikes me is the impact of zoning restrictions on development and the secondary impact of creating suburban uniformity as well as large socio-economic cliffing. Zoning (especially housing and light commercial) strikes me as deeply unfair to older, frequently less wealthy communities, while inadvertently perpetuating geographic barriers to entrepreneurship.

When I look at this map I see that virtually every piece of land that was changed from Agricultural designation to residential or commercial zoning has been sold and is presently under development. This suggests in my mind that zoning has at least locally, broadly under-provided the market demand for homeownership, rentals, and shop space.

What also jumps out is how these programs can persist although benefits aren’t entirely clear.
The classic public choice explanation is Rent capture. The big thing about zoning is it localizes and concentrates poverty while it protects large developers by excluding low level development or density oriented re-development.
Politicians like it because behind the charade of NIMBYism they can deliver favors to their political handlers. Builders and developers collude with local governments to limit the supply of new construction raising prices for land and building.11224512_10102440507355647_6651586348419660157_o (1)