Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Myth of Houston's No Zoning Part 1

There is a pervasive myth in the world of anti-planning and anti-transit fanatics that should be debunked. Specifically Randall O'Toole believes that Houston is the bastion of the free market. That would be nice and rosy if it were true, but it of course is not.

Parking Requirements

What is a good libertarian argument without a discussion about their preferred mode of transportation. If there was no such thing as zoning in Houston, then there would also not be any requirements on property. But instead we find that a one bedroom apartment has a 1.33 space parking requirement which of course lead to larger parking lots or garages costing developers lots of money. If it were a true free market issue, parking space construction would be left up to the market, yet its not. A report done by the EPA found that parking requirements were a big reason why TOD in Midtown has failed to take off. Another reason seems to stem from the fact that land owners think their land is worth much more than it really is and have been unwilling to part with it feeling like a high rise is their eventual destiny.

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