Category: Land Use

Urban Farms: Unlikely Oases in Food Deserts

By Harold Brown Harold Brown “Food desert” is the modern urban description of a supposed area of hunger amid plenty. But one would expect emaciation in a food desert, not obesity, which is caused by overconsumption and bad choices. The modern urban version is a social-cultural food desert. When these occur, they are likely caused by economic, social or regulatory rules. Food vendors go where the demand is, if local regulations allow.  Walmart withdrew its 2011 application for a store, including a supermarket, in downtown Athens, Ga., because of protests against this “urban curse”. The property is now being developed as mostly apartment/condominium units – no supermarket. This week, the Jackson (Ga.) Herald website reported Walmart has withdrawn its rezoning… View Article

Land Use Regulations Hike the Cost of Housing

Restrictive land use regulations include parking limits, minimum lot sizes, “inclusionary” zoning and urban growth boundaries. They are an important factor in skyrocketing housing costs in some of America’s largest cities, according to a Mercatus Center study, “How Land-Use Regulation Undermines Affordable Housing,”  published November 4, 2015. The summary is below; find the full study here. How Land-Use Regulation Undermines Affordable Housing By Sanford Ikeda and Emily Washington  SUMMARY  The vast majority of municipalities in the United States regulate land use and development to some degree. Land-use regulations come in many forms, ranging from traditional zoning and density restrictions to newer “smart growth” policies designed to limit urban sprawl. While these rules have some benefits, they can also restrict housing… View Article

Top 10 Global Warming Lies

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) raises money by scaring Americans about global warming., including in its latest fundraising letter.  Read the article disputing the EDF letter in the Heartland Institute’s Environment & Climate News, Vol. 18 No. 8, September 2015 and is written by James M. Taylor, vice president for external relations and Senior Fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute. It’s not unusual for the environmental Left to make false assertions to attract media attention and raise money. But the recent mailer from EDF “may have set a new low,” writes Taylor in a 12-page response to EDF. “The only good thing about EDF’s preposterous mailer is that it can be used to show open-minded people… View Article

Historic Districts and their Effects on Land Use

The Heartland Institute reports on a study that shows bad zoning policies can lead to economic stagnation. After analyzing datasets of residential transactions for the past 35 years and data from New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, researchers concluded that using zoning policy to designate neighborhoods as having a “historic” nature generally caused property values to increase, but also cause “a significant negative impact on the amount of new housing construction” around and within the district in question. Also, researchers found that historic districts with fewer regulations were observed to have more new economic activity than districts with more regulations. Read the article and the study here: http://heartland.org/policy-documents/preserving-history-or-hindering-growth-heterogenous-effects-historic-districts-loca View Article

Sagebrush Rebellion Redivivus:

William Perry Pendley President, Mountain States Legal Foundation The following is adapted from a speech delivered on April 23, 2014, at a Hillsdale College event in Colorado Springs, Colo. For many or maybe even most Americans, reports that a rancher in Clark County, Nevada, was at odds with federal land bureaucrats, that scores of federal lawyers were litigating against him, and that SWAT-garbed and heavily armed federal law-enforcement officers had surrounded his place might have come as a surprise. They might have been even more surprised, in the wake of this standoff—which ended short of deadly escalation thanks in part to negotiations by a local sheriff—to hear that over 50 elected officials from nine Western states had gathered in Utah… View Article
 By Benita M. Dodd  Benita DoddVice President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be? Neither Barbara Walters nor the average Georgian would be aware of this, but if you want to be considered green, you don’t want to be a plantation tree. That’s because trees from plantations – tree farms – are just not “green” enough for some.   The average Georgian has no idea, either, that the forestry industry employs one in 10 workers in Georgia and generates more than $25 billion in economic activity. Most of that is by the private sector: Of the 24.8 million acres of timberland in Georgia, private owners control 22.2 million acres (91 percent). Individual/family… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD Not many people announce they’re going on a diet; it may fail and they’re left embarrassed. Around the country and in Georgia, planners are quietly going on “road diets” and hoping you’ll be so busy admiring the pretty streetscapes that you won’t notice the gradual shrinking of space for vehicular traffic until it’s too late. This social engineering move is euphemistically called “rightsizing streets.” It has little to do with transportation, and includes strategies such as “converting vehicle lanes to other uses, narrowing vehicle lanes, adding bike lanes, improving pedestrian infrastructure, changing parking configuration and adding roundabouts and medians,” according to the Project for Public Spaces, which earlier this year released a report called… View Article
Atlanta – Did you know that Georgia had the nation’s fourth-highest foreclosure rate in 2012? There were 105,610 foreclosure filings last year, or one for every 39 homes. Who’s to blame? Greedy bankers? Corrupt politicians? Ignorant homeowners? Find out from Randal O’Toole, author of, “American Nightmare: How Government Undermines the Dream of Homeownership,” at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast at 8.a.m. on Tuesday, February 19 at Cobb County’s Georgian Club.   The event, titled “American Dream, American Nightmare” is a not-to-be-missed explanation of the forces at play in the housing market in Georgia and in the nation, and how to rebuild the American Dream of homeownership. This event will cost $25 to attend. Register online by Friday,… View Article

State Property Leases Could Get a New Lease on Life

By Benita M. Dodd There are two constitutional amendments on the ballot in Georgia for voters to consider on November 6. To borrow a word revived in the American lexicon by Vice President Joe Biden, there has been much malarkey in the debate regarding Amendment No. 1, which would provide more public charter school options. Few voters, however, are even aware of Amendment No. 2, which would allow the state to enter multi-year property lease agreements. Georgia’s State Properties Commission, responsible for the inventory of all owned or leased state government facilities and property, has a database of 1,800 leases, 15,000 buildings and 1.1 million acres. The Commission says a longstanding interpretation of the Georgia Constitution limits the state to… View Article

Banking on Land Banks is Banking on Trouble

By Benita M. Dodd The new Georgia Land Bank Act expands local governments’ abilities to create a land bank, an organization with sweeping authority to acquire and dispose of vacant, abandoned or delinquent properties. But communities that race to embrace this unfortunate move will see it come back to haunt, not help, them. It sounds like a good idea at first: Get rid of the vacant properties and abandoned homes that attract crime and impact surrounding property values. The housing crisis has hit Georgia extraordinarily hard and many property owners find themselves unemployed and unable to meet tax and mortgage obligations. Citing “an overriding public need to confront the problems,” the law empowers local governments to join forces or act… View Article

Thank you for what you are doing to lead the nation. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is leading the way. This is truly one of the leading lights in the state think tank movement. Excellent ideas. It’s well run. For those of you who are donors I congratulate you on your wisdom and I encourage you to do it and do it more.

Arthur Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute (2015) more quotes