City Journal Summer 2014

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Summer 2014
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James Panero
New York’s Pioneer Zones « Back to Story

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Artists need affordable housing, sure. But firefighters shouldn't be jeopardized by having to save these landlords'property or the necks of people who illegally convert an ediface. Some of these places have asbestos, lead, are lacking egress, sprinklers, etc. They are cinderboxes waiting to burst into flames.
These buildings will NEVER be manufacturing facilities again. Even if you took away all the regulations, laws, high taxes etc, that put to an end to the businesses there in the first place, they still are largely obsolete for today's manufacturing and distribution. These jobs are lost to the suburbs never to return.

Today's industry requires huge single level structures with 48 foot ceilings, better power supply for air conditioning & lighting, fewer columns and interstate highway access. Few or none of these buildings can do that.

These buildings need new life, and people are willing to do so. If the city was actually interested in renewal, they would be falling over each other in removing or changing laws that get in the way of these people.

I've found that renewal that is needed in plenty of places (not just NYC) is largely blocked by government in most of these places. They complain endlessly about how development going elsewhere, but then turn and block the development that they could have.

There is a small city that complains that nobody builds new homes there anymore. I have someone that wants to build a house there, but no dice, the zoning blocks her house for no good reason. So it will go somewhere else.
Interesting piece. Some of you might be interested in some recent scholarship addressing this topic -- Rick Hills and I have written this article discussing the law, economics and politics of "non-cumulative zoning" that appeared in the University of Chicago Law Review.

http://lawreview.uchicago.edu/issues/backissues/v77/77_1/77-1-NoncumulativeZoning-Hills%20-%20Schleicher.pdf

The same problems have existed in Chicago for many years eventually properties do get rezoned or industrial districts disappear in many areas. In several cases the City of Chicago created the Kinzie District to consolidate distribution facilities that where needed to service Chicago's local logistics and warehousing operations. It would make sense for New York to do the same to designate certain industrial areas as distribution hubs and other areas redevelopment zones which include Big Box retail. Then all parties will play under a equitable set of rules
Only 2 comments blasting government officials that they themselves gave "carte blanche" to in their districts. I guess everybody is enjoying labor day weekend where labor seems interestingly absent.
Why are americans so blissfully set on sabotaging themselves by not exercising their rights in a timely fashion where and when it counts.
I wonder what % of artists etc ever show up for any town meetings!!!!!!!!!!!!. OR, are they even registered voters?

Unsustainable laws are nothing new. Follow the money trail and you will have the answers.

Montgomery Alabama's city council also is in the dog house for coming down hard on property owners in the "historic civil rights district".

We spend too much time and money on these so called "injustices". Poor does not equate with not making an effort to pick up a broom,
paint brush, saw, hammer and have knowledge of their local building codes.
Like anything else in life taking a chance and milking a situation till it backfires seems to be the norm for certain groups of people.

I support those that wish to improve their lifestyle but not with arrogant entitlement and wishfull thinking that eventually the everyday taxpayer will bail them out when the law decides enuf is enuf.
AMEN
Every bureaucrat has a genetic compulsion to justify his existence by expanding his operation any way possible. They never let logic, commons sense or compassion interfere with their focused assaults on the public. They benefit from tunnel vision; extrernal, even extrraneous elements are not allowed to be factored into a decision. They thrive by enforcing, even expanding the interpretation of, the laws under which they were created.
amazing how a very few power-mongering government officials will stubbornly sipke themselves to the ground, never caring who, or how many, others get hurt by their insane stubbornness. Good job SeƱor Lopez. Why do not these entrenched city manglers get tossed out on their ears in the elections? Behaviour like this surely hasn't a care for the people who LIVE there, or who own the land they occupy.