I used to be very pro-density in terms of my own preference of where to live, and I’ve never lived in the suburbs or in a single family home in my adult life.
I’m finding it very challenging while locked down though, it’s making me realize I actually do value having my own space that I can own and control. I’m pretty introverted to begin with but I’ve never minded living in a big building with a bunch of strangers, but now that I see many of these strangers doing things that potentially endanger my health like walking around without masks, having illegal gatherings, and begging the management to reopen our gym in the middle of this pandemic, my outlook has completely changed. Even once this pandemic ends, I imagine I will think differently about the trade offs and risks of living in such close quarters with so many people I don’t know.
This is not exactly related to single family zoning, but in the same vein I imagine if I had a single family home and someone wanted to build a huge apartment building next to me right now, I would be unhappy for the same reasons. I’ve always been morally against NIMBYism on principle, but to be honest this pandemic has really started to change my perspectives.
There could be so much innovation in solving the NIMBY problem. Make a cash payment to neighbors while construction is happening to compensate for the nuisance, give them equity in your new building if their view is damaged, obligate builders to also build bus stops/bike lanes/whatever to make the streets navigable with high density, mixed use construction with privacy to avoid strangers.
So many problems that people have with construction can be solved and incentives aligned if people had the ability to try to convince their neighbors.
Instead we’ve ended up with city councils that have high incumbency rates because voting in city elections is cumbersome requiring you to convince the whole city to change zoning rather than just your neighbors.
And I’m surprised politically liberal people aren’t even more in favor. So many people want to move to the west coast but can’t due to cost of living. Instead they move to the south and southwest. Even if California got a million staunch republicans, the state would vote democratic overall and get more electoral votes. In fact, I wonder if some of our political polarization is the consequence of reduced mobility due to high housing costs for new people.
I’m hopeful the millennial generation fixes federal housing policy. That alone would be a meaningful contribution to society.
Go over to reason.com and search for their zoning coverage. Go to the AEI and find their report calling for the abolition of single family zoning. (I’d send you links, but I’m on a phone.)
The main difference between them and the more left-leaning types who hate single family zoning is that they’re not too big on replacing it with other zoning.
Off topic but I feel like this all the time too. What do you think would have to change about your phone to not feel like this? Voice commands? UI changes?
It would be nice if I could enter copy/paste mode, and when in that mode I had a mouse cursor that I could move by holding my finger above the screen (so I can see the cursor), and basically use my finger like a virtual mouse during the cut/paste operation.
I'd love to have a phone case with a flip down physical keyboard and a dot like on a ThinkPad. Think, old school game boy.
For the rest of my problems,we just need better integration and customization. My last two phones have pop out drawers pinned to the sides. This can be taken much further to provide instant access to the clip tray, contacts,messages,emails, bookmarks, calender, password manager, and on and on. But no. I get notifications from the top, which has the customizability of a closed source terminal. From the bottom I have a barebones task bar. And I can pin 5apps to a pinned button that I can dock up and down either side. Can't even change its color tough. My current phone is leagues more powerful than my first smart phone, but my first was more usable and customizable.
American Enterprise Institute ("a public policy think tank dedicated to defending human dignity, expanding human potential, and building a freer and safer world. The work of our scholars and staff advances ideas rooted in our belief in democracy, free enterprise ...")
https://www.aei.org/op-eds/to-solve-the-problem-of-unafforda... (Dec 2019): "To solve the problem of unaffordable entry-level housing, abolish single-family zoning. Allowing 2-, 3- and 4-family structures amid single-family homes could add 10% to today’s housing stock"
https://www.aei.org/economics/a-different-take-on-americas-h... (2018): "Demand is too high, supply is too low, therefore role back regulations on land-use and zoning and allow the market to work. As Fisher put it, if cities start “allowing townhomes and duplexes and places that were originally single-family homes to be redeveloped into 20 unit buildings, I think you would see the market take care of itself."
https://www.aei.org/research-products/report/a-plea-for-beau... (2012): "Zoning contributes to the dereliction of the city when its local industries die and ensures that the central areas are not places of renewal, but at best museums and at worst vandalized spaces no one can use. In successful cities like Paris, New York, and Rome, workshops, apartments, offices, schools, churches, and theaters all stand side by side, with houses borrowing walls from whatever building has a boundary to spare."
Let's go over to Reason, a little more strident with their opinions. Their magazine bears the slogan, "free minds and free markets". And let us see how long they have opposed it. Looks like they've done so since... NINTEEN SEVENTY SIX. I was not alive in 1976. My parents were alive, but not old enough to vote. So let's take a look at the legacy our grandfathers' generation has left us.
"WHO LOSES? The results of land use legislation will be particularly harmful to the less well-to-do, since they are least able to cope with higher prices."
"Section 509(d) provides that nothing in the Act shall be construed to "enhance or diminish the rights of owners of property as provided by the Constitution of the U.S. and the constitution and laws of the states in which the property is located." For Howard Hughes that may be comforting. But for the small landowner it is close to meaningless. No matter how wicked and confiscatory a regulation is, a bolt from heaven will not strike it dead. It can only be declared unconstitutional by a court of law, and this means that an owner must be in a position to use costly and lengthy court processes to sue for such a ruling. The situation faced by affluent owners would be entirely different from that of the less affluent."
They lost that round pretty badly, though. Within a decade the magazine had moved from forecasting the inevitable consequences to documenting them.
https://reason.com/1986/02/01/zoning-revolutionary/ "Zoning contributes to housing shortages and holds down commercial development; it adds paperwork and years and political shenanigans to land-use changes; and, ominously, it is used to exclude "undesirables.""
https://reason.com/1990/10/01/zoning/ "As zoning laws continue to keep the dream of affordable housing just that, a dream, one usually apolitical group is calling for a change. Habitat for Humanity International says zoning laws, along with prohibitive development fees, often undermine its nonprofit efforts to build "simple, decent" housing for the nation's poor."
https://reason.com/2013/05/07/zoning-kills-affordable-housin... "Zoning Kills Affordable Housing: How established homeowners use regulations to stop new low-cost homes." (Book review)
https://reason.com/2014/11/16/washingtons-beautiful-illegal/ "Washington's Beautiful, Illegal Tiny Houses: Architectural minimalism runs afoul of outdated regulations in the nation's capital."
https://reason.com/2015/07/26/zoning-out-the-poor/ "Zoning out the poor". In case you thought libertarians and free markets were all about pooh-poohing the poor.
https://reason.com/2017/05/25/residential-zoning-in-new-york... "Zoning Laws in New York, San Francisco, and San Jose Cut Americans' Wages by $8,775 / And they've made the U.S. economy 9 percent smaller than it would it otherwise be."
https://reason.com/2018/08/14/ben-carson-calls-out-zoning-re... "Ben Carson Calls Out Zoning Regulations for Driving Up Housing Costs: The HUD Secretary wants to revise Obama-era housing regulations he says do too little to address the real drivers of housing costs."
https://reason.com/2018/12/10/progressive-minneapolis-just-p... "Progressive Minneapolis Just Passed One of the Most Deregulatory Housing Reforms in the Country: Urban liberals are won over to libertarian policies, if not libertarian politics."
https://reason.com/2019/02/08/zoning-makes-the-green-new-dea... "Zoning Makes the Green New Deal Impossible: A bad idea is made worse by its inability to grapple with local land use restrictions."
https://reason.com/2020/04/18/cant-afford-your-rent-blame-he... "Can't Afford Your Rent? Blame Herbert Hoover. The feds pushed cities to implement zoning restrictions. High prices and social inequality were the inevitable results."
https://reason.com/2020/07/02/empowered-by-excessive-regulat... "Zoning and other municipal regulations give busybodies a license to harass people they don't like and force others to conform to subjective standards as they see fit."
That last one was literally posted yesterday, just to show you that they're still doing it.
Oh, and one more classic, just to consider it in light of current events: https://reason.com/1984/10/01/telecommuting-will-the-plug-be...
"Telecommuting: Will the Plug be Pulled? ... The prospect of such a dramatic increase [in telecommuting] has not been universally welcomed."
""Those of us who plop down our Apples in the office at home or in the rec room are probably not in any danger of violating any local ordinances," commented former Labor Department assistant secretary Donald Elisburg recently. "But if the work stations spread and it becomes popular, there may be more consideration of local zoning laws as to whether such installations are permitted.""
"Yes, zoning laws. In general, local zoning laws already regulate any work done in the home in some manner and often require home businesses to obtain permits. Thus far, such laws have rarely been used against telecommuters. Chicago is an exception. Its city code stipulates that except for certain professionals, who may use their residences for "consultation, emergency treatment, or performance of religious rites," all home work is taboo when it involves the "installation or use of any mechanical or electrical equipment customarily incident to the practice of any such professions. [...] "The law is one of the nation's most restrictive," [Professor William Toner] told me. "It's structured so that there's a good chance it would be illegal for Saul Bellow to write a Nobel Prize–winning novel at home.""
We've been railing against zoning regulations for decades.
Here's an article from Mises.org (about as free-market as you can find) from 2010 railing against it:
Half of what you say is indistinguishable from zoning (the transit part). The other half runs into the problem of people not agreeing to the compensation.
The reality is that what you do on your property impacts my property and utilizes public resources. There has to be some mechanism to regulate that and enforce those regulations. The problem isn't the concept of zoning but how it has been applied.
They do, not just in academia as other comments have observed, but in practice (consider Houston)
Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.
I wanted to call myself libertarian-minded for a while but the practice just doesn't seem to match the fundamental principals.
I do. However, I grew up in Houston which doesn’t have zoning. When I lived in Jersey City about 8 years ago and was working on the Steve Fulop campaign, I was amazed at how vicious zoning and variance fights could become. Zoning and the fights over it are exceptional hotbeds of corruption.
> In Langston Hughes’ autobiography, he describes how he lived in an integrated neighborhood in Cleveland. His best friend in high school was Polish. He dated a Jewish girl. That neighborhood in Cleveland was razed by the WPA, which built two segregated [ones], one for African-Americans, one for whites. The Depression gave the stimulus for the first civilian public housing to be built. Were it not for that policy, many of these cities might have developed with a different residential pattern.
I'll accept at one time public works implementation of utility infrastructure may have skewed things, but I was pretty sure issues of zoning were predominantly local affairs.
What is it with this thread and not reading the article?
"The first of many ironies, of course, is that single-family zoning became the standard for American suburbs during the New Deal when the Roosevelt administration, through various programs such as the Home Owners Loan Corporation, required it for home refinancing assistance.
These onerous regulations were further mandated for new construction by the Federal Housing Administration as well as the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."
I have no idea what "tech bro ideology" is but whatever politics you favor, I can give you a long list of comments bitterly complaining that HN is dominated by it and the mods are secretly conspiring to suppress everybody else. Edit: actually here you go—see the list here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23807579
All such comments are the same—the righties say it and the lefties say it, everyone says it. It is pure cognitive bias.
Public transportation doesn’t work since people are super spread out, all commercial activity is miles away, your work is probably 20-60 min away by car.
Abolishing parking minimums or generally discouraging cars in isolation just makes everyone worse off. You have to make the area livable without a vehicle first.
But instead, we're seeing their case load actually stay fairly reasonable compared to NYC or Berlin, where there's more car usage.
People are just trying to live their lives. Inconveniencing vehicle users won’t actually change anything because they have zero power over the “vision” of their area and zoning. The change has to come from the city planners first.
I would love love love to not need a car. And my area is pouring millions in mixed use land projects to make it happen. It’s a decades long project.
There are plenty of people who don't drive and currently have to pay a slight premium for a parking space they don't use. The market currently cannot efficiently serve those people. I am one of those people. Removing parking minimums helps people like me, and honestly doesn't effect people like you. Just because such a change wouldn't do anything in particular to help vehicle owners doesn't mean it's going to hurt them either.
This is called 'displaced parking' and it's a pretty well known problem among parking planners. You'll get the same thing if, for example, the college campus starts charging $5 to park when students can park for free on nearby streets and walk.
You can get around this with parking permits and towing everywhere in walking distance - but you can't be timid and imagine the new street won't interact with other parking locally.
The flip side to this is that it doesn't work in the context of on street parking. Or at least it allows some freeloaders to overwhelm the public resource.
But that's kind of the point for them. The goal is to make cars unviable so that people are forced to use public transportation.
That's why you need regulations like minimum parking, otherwise companies would completely forgo parking if they could get away with it.
So it really does mean that they won't build parking.
Developers would weigh the cost of building parking against the benefit it provides. Some would still build lots of parking but others might not.
Consider the following scenario: Walmart builds a new store with lots of parking, and across the road a Target opens and they gamble on having no parking since the Walmart lot is just across the street. Target saves a lot of money this way, so they're incentivised to not build parking.
Imagine that Walmart knows this might happen, and so they choose not to build the parking because they don't want to subsidize Target's parking. Now two huge stores go up with no or minimal parking. It's a prisoner's dilemma brought on by lack of regulation.
Target would have to weigh the costs/benefits and decide if they wanted their own lot. In some locations that decision might be no or a small lot. But they can't choose that because it's against the law.
Nobody is talking about price controls.
Biking on a hot day with a nice hat at a leisure pace is fine. Specially if you provide safe environment.
On lower speed roads with frequent intersections, that infrastructure causes more problems than it's worth because it makes intersection navigation far more hazardous than just using the roadway like any other vehicle.
A lot of bike lanes, in my experience, are of substandard width and, as a consequence, result in closer passes/overtakes by cars in the adjacent general purpose lane because of the lack of sufficient width in the bike lane and the fact that motorists tend to drift from side to side within their lane during the normal course of driving (especially when the road has a curve).
So, riding in the bike lane actually makes things worse for the cyclist in terms of dealing with overtaking traffic compared to riding in the center of the general purpose lane.
My personal experience (over the last 15 years) has been that the vast majority of drivers will treat it as a non-event and just change lanes to pass/overtake. The real danger is a motorist who doesn't notice you until it's too late to avoid a collision. If someone uses their horn or shouts at you, then at least you know they've seen you.
Like if you can afford to live downtown in my city you’re either really well off because $/sq ft. is astronomical or are some combination of young, single, and childless so you can put up with living in a studio/small 1 bedroom.
I'm all for increasing density, go ahead and build your buildings higher.
But don't do it at the expense of people who are willing to pay high premiums to have a small piece of land to avoid the noise, smell, polution, and crowding of apartments.
- 12story building next to 1story bungalow
- no mandate on 12story building to create parking per unit, so the entire block is flooded with cars trying to find places to park (also, this is the city, so many homes have no garage, you rely on street parking)
- tons of circling cars looking for parking all the time
- school not planned for the neighborhood. Sure, you built a 12story x 4unit = 48unit apartment, but there are no places in the school for the ~50 additional kids who suddenly appear. Yes you are guaranteed a seat in a school, but that could be 8 schools away and your kids can be in different schools depending on grade overflow levels
- giant garbage trucks (building-sized) coming and going into your otherwise quiet neighborhod
- giant A/C units pumping air for the whole building next to a 1story home
Parking on the street is not a right but a public good. Everyone share, this has nothing to do with land owned per citizen. Raise the price of street parking.
Again Parking is not a right, it's a commodity, and people should pay a market price for it.
This map is from NYC. The neither the developer nor the permit increases the school size, the school is the same size it has been for decades.
Totally agree this is a city issue. I think the core problem is that everything needs to go in lockstep -- agreeing to, say, free-for-all zoning but handwaving all other problems as things the "market will solve" doesnt work because the solution doesnt come for years, or decades. For this to work, it all needs to happen synchronously. It clearly didn't, as evidenced by NYC's public school registration waiting lists.
A great solution I saw (same city) was when the developer built a public school for lease in the bottom floors of the high-rise to accommodate the influx of families. This is very, very rare in NYC though. Usually its a move-fast-and-break-things approach.
I also agree paid parking would solve the problem. But saying it "should" happen without joining it to zoning changes achieves nothing -- it just waves away the problem with a theoretically perfect solution. The zoning change would have been a great thing if it came with a long series of simultaneous changes in other policies from school size to paid parking.
This reminds me of a story from an acquaintance who was a dairy farmer. The jurisdiction passed a referendum mandating all eggs farmed would be free-range eggs. This tripled costs and raised the break-even price of eggs. The jurisdiction did not include on the referendum a restriction against importing non-free-range eggs. After the law went into effect, most voters who happily voted for the restriction continued to purchase inexpensive non-free-range imported eggs. My friend's egg farm went bankrupt. This could have been solved with a synchronous policy.
> Abolishing single family zoning does not imply abolishing all zoning.
One can concurrently believe that some zoning is reasonable (or at least that some zoning is much less likely to have unintended effects), and also that single-family is unnecessary. As an easy example, in most jurisdictions single-family excludes duplexes and triplexes. Those don't have any of the problems you described.
SFH zoning is unique because it's so prescriptive about the allowed uses, it covers a huge percentage of residential land
(https://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/amid-seatt...), and it has a 75 year head start (current zoning is not what anyone would create anew today). High impact and little room to adapt to the actual market.
(Parking is its own challenge: https://www.vox.com/2014/6/27/5849280/why-free-parking-is-ba.... The root cause is that it's dramatically underpriced, so people have started to treat an extreme subsidy like a right.)
I think the biggest issue in zoning is the lack of a path to unzone something. If I convince all my immediate neighbors to let me build up (perhaps by giving them some equity in the new building) I should be allowed by the law to build. Today, even if my whole block wants to build up, we cannot.
Personally, I don't think you should have to get universal agreement either. Maybe a simple majority? Life does chance, cities grow to new borders, single family zoning that made sense a generation ago can be absurd later.
As for zoning vs private contract... well, for historical reasons, that's just how it works in older urban neighborhoods. That's the mechanism by which these property rights are decided. It's not ideal. But at my core, I do think the right to live in areas with certain building restrictions is a kind of personal property right just as real as the right to build whatever you want.
This is an excellent point.
Zoning ensures you can buy a nice quite house which is surrounded by other nice quiet houses and they won't be suddenly replaced by high-rise buildings. For most people housing is their single largest asset and asking them to "just move" is not a particularly nice solution
Without legislated zoning this would still be possible but only in gated communities or similar. I'm not particularly familiar with US law in this area but local regulation seems to be a reasonable way to accomplish this.
Where I live a lot of people are complaining about the opposite problem: developers are constructing 7-story buildings in quiet areas, sometimes just outright replacing green spaces.
I personally live in a very crowded central area but still believe that suburban areas should be accommodated.
There are a lot of factors here - property taxes are also sky high for new buyers, so it's a little difficult to consider this one question purely in isolation.
This is still available as a covenant, which encumbers the property deed with restrictions on use. If a bunch of neighbors on a block decide to do encumber their own deeds, they can.
Reducto ad absurdem -- A single crack-house can bring down the value of every house in the neighborhood by 100k or more.
Housing has huge externalities (traffic, parking, noise, crime, property values) and a lot of what makes a property a "good" property is having an area where those externalities are controlled so you can walk your dog safely at night.
Obviously, I wouldn't like it if someone built a mall next door to me, but in a philosophical framework that includes land as private property (which is how I can own the little bit of land that I have and plant trees and garden on it), I have to accept that other people have rights on the land they own.
It’s just allowing the option to build an in-law unit and rent it out, or split the house into a duplex, or build a townhouse (houses with shared walls).
What makes me nervous would be not knowing if my long term investment in a living space could be erased by some arbitrary use of the neighboring land. And individual homeowners would have no power against corporate owners of the land.
> It might just prevent you from living in it, for instance if it happens to be in between a discotheque and a pig farm.
Abolishing single family zoning does not imply abolishing all zoning.
They are not. But they want people to invest, and people will not invest if they have no ability to predict the future circumstances. That's why governments try to create long-term systems and aren't running on mood swings.
Nobody will invest anywhere if all the parameters are up for redefinition every day. "Oh, you built your factory based on proximity to the high way and train line? Well guess what, those are lame, and we've decided to remove both because we want to be cool. We are not obligated to protect your investment."
We don't? Pretty much anything the state is involved is specifically designed to be long-term. We absolutely don't want volatile systems, we want stability.
I assure you, it may not be written down, but the level of protection of the stock market the government engages in Dr facto establishes the government is in the business of protecting long term private investment after a particular inflection point.
The guarantee by the Fed of asset prices will lead to more inequality as asset valuations are disconnected from their returns. Do we want this to happen? Same with the government interventions in zoning, is this what we want? It doesn't cost near as much to build a house or apartment as it is to find a place that you are allowed to. Do we want to continue to allow housing costs to be disconnected from what a house actually costs to produce?
HK, Singapore, NYC, Paris, and London are slums?
The numbers of US tourist flocking them might say otherwise.
I don't think anyone is talking about banning detached SFHs here; they merely want to remove the ban on building literally anything else. SFHs are quite popular, and whatever happens, I'm sure there will still be a market for them.
If you want to live in a SFH, perhaps a dense urban core is not ideal for you.
Build your McMansion out int the boonies, just don't expect me to subsidize it with my tax dollars
"Don't expect me to subsidize..." - said the Tax Cow
I think you may misunderstand what zoning does. Ending single family zoning doesn’t end single family houses, it just allows other housing types to be built as well. Many or most housing units would still be single family houses, with or without zoning.
This would remove the incentive to over-supply, not the incentive to supply.
Doesn’t mean you or they were wrong, but you’re most likely going to be plowed over by the machines of progress.
My problem with apartments is that they ain't "mine". Not once has an apartment in which I lived allowed its tenants (myself included) to even paint the walls, let alone hang pictures with nails (gotta use those adhesive strips that absolutely suck) or mount a TV to the wall. And no way in hell would they allow me to do crazier things like putting Ethernet jacks and speaker hookups in the walls or replacing the light switches/fixtures (hell, most get uppity even if I change a burnt-out bulb) or putting in those fancy outlets with the built-in USB ports¹. Even if I were to "own" my apartment (i.e. as a condo) there's no way in hell they'd be okay with me swapping out the windows, or putting in better insulation, or installing a solar power system (and they'd probably still object to me ripping apart the walls to put in those Ethernet jacks / speaker hookups).
And then on top of all that, there are countless other things I can't do by nature of not "owning" the outdoor space, either. Shed? Nope. Barbecue? Usually not. Workshop? Not unless I'm lucky enough to have an attached garage². That DIY smelter I wanna build³? Hell fuckin' nope.
I feel like a happy medium (for me at least) between "stuck in an apartment" and "suburbia" would be townhomes or something similar: still "detached", but thinner and much closer together, with an emphasis on building vertical. Could even be on the same square footage of land, just thin and long instead of fat and square.
More critically, though, I strongly believe the distinction between "residential" and "commercial" zoning should be significantly blurred. Both in the sense of mixed-use buildings⁴ and in the sense of small business owners living where they work / working where they live (e.g. shop or restaurant on the first floor, and the owner lives on the second floor, as was once traditional).
¹: Though my previous apartment in Daly City did come with USB outlets, which was a pleasant surprise
²: Currently I am not so lucky, though the garage does have an outlet so as long as I don't draw too much down I might be able to get away with it
⁴: I'm a strong advocate for underground parking + ground floor(s) for shops/restaurants + additional floors for apartments/condos or offices; even if apartments/condos ain't my cup of tea, I'd rather live in that sort of place than a building that's just apartments
Combined with plentiful public transit, remote work, good community layouts,etc, I think the ideal living conditions for people would be something like this. Low density housing, not made up of McMansions and chemical soaked lawns, but of space where people can connect with nature, enjoy the land side by side with neighbors and family.
Densely populated cities may not be good for disease prevention but they are much more efficient in terms of carbon cost per capita
As for this guy calling himself a conservative, somewhere along the way, libertarians in America began calling themselves conservatives and forgot what the term really means. Conservatism isn't knee-jerk ideological opposition to any rules.
There are only 2 parking spots available, and the upstairs unit was converted in such a way that the only way to get to the bathroom is through the kitchen.
The side of the house was ‘modified’ to provide a front-door to the upstairs unit. However, this door is less than 6 feet from my fence, so it is impossible for anybody to move furniture in or out of the home.
I'm being a jerk, but even if you find something objectionable doesn't mean that it doesn't have a purpose.
Unless you're willing to buy the place, renovate in a way you see fit, and try to rent for a profit, then you should not spend so much time being concerned about this house.
The tenants, or their visitors, will park in other peoples yards.
The landlord will make deals to waive the security deposit in exchange for ‘fixing up’ the units, after the prior tenant trashes it.
So, ‘saving money’, is really externalizing the costs to the surrounding neighbors.
My plan is to purchase it, and raze it to the ground, honestly.
So, the neighbor that has a bunch of money, and sees the lot next door become ‘denser’, why not buy all the units and create a buffer?
Sadly, as I reached the end I knew- only one person could have written this. Marohn is, unfortunately, still bearing his torch alone.
The comments on the site are basically "don't touch my handouts" and "suburbs are the last stronghold against the brown people".
Your standalone plot is surely worth more in an area that more people want to live in, and where developers could potentially buy it off you to subdivide and turn into multiple homes?
In return, the cities here have non-functioning schools, despite being well funded. The cities have very high crime, and basic services in the cities are lacking.
There is a perpetual cycle of 20 somethings moving into the cities as they start their careers, and then moving to the burbs within 5-10 years as they realize that their kids will be uneducated if they remain there, and they will get mugged every couple of years.
There are two principles dear to conservatives that form an antagonistic relationship in this case: 1. minimal government intervention, and 2. emergent common law/standards. When left alone, homeowner associations (HOAs) tend to form single-family zoning policies. I'm not sure how to square this circle.
If an HOA mandates single-family dwellings and large set-backs, then it should be directly responsible for road maintenance, sanitation, fire, etc. If you want all those long roads, you have to pay for them.
The way it works now is that a developer drops in an HOA with a restrictive covenant, then turns the mess over to the nearest city to maintain a bunch of excessive infrastructure.
If an HOA can't be maintained (bankruptcy) then the covenant should be automatically dissolved and the easements lifted.
Calls to demonstrate conservative principles of small government, to spurn the transfer of funds from blue states to red states, and to reject racist policies are appeals to fiscal conservatism and proponents of small government. Unfortunately for the author, that's a plainly antiquated cause in American conservative politics.
The wedge issues, antagonistic framing, and outright racism leveraged to build a coopted support base have broken out of the petri dish and taken over the host, leaving old school fiscal conservatives and small-government idealists thoughtfully trying to state their points as they get shoved into a school locker or quietly shaking their heads as they wonder how to make the trade off worth it.
In a way, it represents a now set-aside third political body, one that liberals would do well to include, learn from, and leverage. There are people who wish to ask interesting questions, theorize, advocate, and meaningfully govern (even if it's in a very different way).
I've always thought there should be more like us than the other type of people who are purely idealogical, but that's exactly what everyone else thinks.
At least I can console myself knowing I don't support such hilariously incongruent ideas as the social conservatives you mention. But I'm not sure how what I believe are good policies for most actually win out