Tag: Land Use

Lahaina: A Failure of Blue Land Use Policy


The Lahaina inferno has drawn out the conspiracy theorists, touting everything from laser rays to artificial fuels. Add in the Gaea cult assigning it to global warming. The truth is likely even more tragic because prosaic. It’s the foreseeable consequence of readily observable folly, lacking only the right conditions to set things in motion. This photo (cribbed from the AP) tells the tale:

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At least this candidate has a unique idea for a change although I suspect he wants a government takeover/solution. But, interesting that he has singled them out and maybe some need a little guidance and creative thinking nobody has mobilized. There are other philosophic (liberal) articles roasting Malls as relics of over-optimistic captalism, etc. I […]

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Richard Epstein looks at how the modern regulatory regime has slowed development and hindered infrastructure projects.

Richard Epstein describes how government interventions have driven the Golden State’s housing prices to extraordinary heights.

How the Clean Water Act Went Off the Rails


shutterstock_121109029Late last month, a federal district judge in North Dakota took the rare step of questioning the scope of the EPA’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, holding up a new agency rule that includes a capacious definition of the “waters of the United States.” As I note in my new column for Defining Ideas, we wouldn’t be in this mess were it not for a long string of judicial decisions that have consistently increased the EPA’s authority and muddled the legal landscape:

… The massive nature of this new regulation is made plain in the introductory paragraph of Justice Antonin Scalia’s 2006 plurality opinion in Rapanos v. United States:

“In April 1989, petitioner John A. Rapanos backfilled wetlands on a parcel of land in Michigan that he owned and sought to develop. This parcel included 54 acres of land with sometimes-saturated soil conditions. The nearest body of navigable water was 11 to 20 miles away. Regulators had informed Mr. Rapanos that his saturated fields were “waters of the United States,” that could not be filled without a permit. Twelve years of criminal and civil litigation ensued.”

The Eureka Podcast: California’s Affordable Housing Crisis


Real estate in California is expensive. That much I’m guessing you knew already. What you may not know is how much of this trend is driven by factors other than lots of people wanting to live by the beach. In this installment of the Eureka podcast from the Hoover Institution, I talk to Hoover research fellows Carson Bruno and Bill Whalen about how much of that premium results from conscious decisions by California policymakers rather than market forces. It’s an eye-opening discussion about how the policy preferences of gentry liberals can put the squeeze to the middle and lower classes. If you live in California — or any other state that’s becoming more restrictive when it comes to development — you’ll want to listen to this cautionary tale about the ultimate costs.

The Preservationist Instinct Run Amok


shutterstock_105789410This year, the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. While the law that originally created the Commission was well-intended, the current rules under which the Commission operates regulate everything from the process by which landmarks are designated to the extensive restrictions on the ability of their owners to make any exterior or interior changes in their structures, down to the last ventilation duct, awning, window opening, and fire escape. The simplest way to think about landmark designation is that it puts the city in the position of part owner of the affected buildings, which then lets it decide how these buildings are maintained and altered, without having to bear anything close to the full financial burden of its decisions. As I note in my new column for Defining Ideas, the result is a deluge of government meddling in what surely ought to be private decisions. From the piece:

Rest assured that the behavior of landmark commissions and landmark preservationists alike would change rapidly if they had to raise public or private money to fund their prized projects. At this point preservationists, like everyone else, would have to learn to live within a budget, at which point they would moderate their demands so that only the best projects would be landmarked, and only in a way which minimizes the financial burdens to their owners.

…The key to any sensible reform is to put all the government claims on budget, so that the public can deliberate sensibly about how much should be spent on landmark preservation and which projects should be selected for their the aesthetic and civic virtues.

The Lesson of Nevada — C.J. Box


What is the takeaway from the Feds vs. Bundy Ranch standoff in Nevada now that the Feds have high-tailed it? (Caution: the answer may be disconcerting to some readers.)

I won’t go into all the particulars here. The best and most balanced summary I’ve read was written by Logan Churchwell and Brandon Darby in Breitbart and I’d urge you to read it here.

The Libertarian Podcast: Understanding Property Rights


In the latest installment of The Libertarian podcast, Professor Epstein takes us through a thorough consideration of the issue of property rights: how the Founders thought about them, when the courts started distorting them, and what can be done to restore them to reasonable strength. Take a listen: