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Thread: Tract builders complain local zoning boards are pushing prices out of reach

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Tract builders complain local zoning boards are pushing prices out of reach

    Headline and Article from the Indianapolis Star:
    http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dl...WS01/510160495

    Highlights:
    "Local zoning boards are beginning to require improvements in new developments that push home prices out of reach of some first-time buyers, builders say.

    ...larger lot sizes...

    Green space, varied front elevations on homes and other costs soon will chase tract builders to locations 20 miles or more beyond Marion County's borders...

    ... Drew Klacik, a housing policy analyst at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis' Center for Urban Policy and the Environment.

    Klacik suggests city planning and zoning officials cap house sizes at about 2,500 square feet instead of setting minimums that sometimes are more than 3,000.

    "We might need to concentrate on building neighborhoods instead of subdivisions.""


    Have you heard this complaint ?
    I have heard about fees not much about the ZC.
    Last edited by JNA; 16 Oct 2005 at 7:47 PM.
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  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Another empty threat from developers. Beazer Homes is down here, too, and makes the same stupid complaints. I think their biggest risk is dealing with disgruntled homeowners who have bought those crappy tract houses; hmmmm....how many of them had water shooting horizontally thru the walls during last years hurricanes, due to shoddy design/poor paint and sealant?

    Back OT: changing a few elevations and staggering front setbacks isn't going to cost these guys a dime. Limiting s.f. might, but they probably won't have a problem selling, even at that. And about having to move even further from city borders, that will happen anyway.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    Another empty threat from developers.
    Zoning Goddess, I disagree. Excessive land use regulation is causing higher home prices.

    A quote from today's excellent New York Times housing article reads, "almost without exception [housing economists at Harvard, Yale, and Penn], though they come from different political persuasions and even different research specialties, have attributed high home prices to zoning."

    In the opinion of the Penn housing economist Susan Wachter, "the US housing market is somewhere between where we were before 1995 and 'where Europe is right now'- where, that is, a smaller supply of land and a stricter regulatory market make building significantly more expensive." Wachter was assistant HUD secretary in Clinton administration.

    I expect home prices to continue to rise in major US metropolitan areas like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The driver won't be typical economic fundamentals like rapid job and income growth, it will be excessive regulation that suffocates housing supply.

    Can anyone provide real world evidence or research that contradicts my position and argues that strict land use regulation causes housing prices and new construction costs to go down?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/16/ma...6brothers.html

  4. #4

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    Well, if you think the end all and be all, the only purpose of local government, is to promote more suburban development, as quickly as possible with no concern over other costs or long term viability of the community, then sure, zoning regulations "cause" high housing prices. Note that I amk not denying that there are silly regulations, excessive fees, etc. etc. It's just that too often the debate over "housing costs" assumes that this is the ONLY thing that matters. Keep in mind that someone has to pay for the miles of freeways, new schools, new parks, police and fire services, etc needed for often inefficient patterns of suburban development. It's either the general fund (which means everyone else pays for the new sprawl) or the new homebuyers themselves (impact fees-which means housing affordability is impacted.

    Plus, how big an issue is housing affordability outside a few major metropolitan area? There is plenty of housing supply in Indianapolis-it may not be a brand new McTract Home in a distant collar county, but.... Given how vulnerable, California, for example, is to resource shortages (water, freeway capacity), the value of California farmland for national food supply, and natural hazards, should we chuck everything to ENCOURAGE even more growth here?

  5. #5
    Note that I amk not denying that there are silly regulations, excessive fees, etc. etc. It's just that too often the debate over "housing costs" assumes that this is the ONLY thing that matters. Keep in mind that someone has to pay for the miles of freeways, new schools, new parks, police and fire services, etc needed for often inefficient patterns of suburban development.
    Great points. Developers should help pay for the "hidden" cost associated with their developments which should be passed onto the purchasers. Perhaps in the form of development fees.

    Development fees however are only a small part of the cost. What's more costly is the lawyers needed to review the silly regulations and time associated when fighting the more outrageous ones. Minimum lot sizes certainly does not help the situation either. It decreases the density, results in high prices, and limits the developer's potential market. I know some are skeptical about this, but it's the truth.

    I always wondered why cities would prefer to have excessive red tape, which cost the developers huge bucks, which they pass onto homebuyers. An alternative would be to relax regulations but have higher development fees. Then the city could invest more into the community. Right now it seems the only people benefiting by silly regulations are the lawyers on both sides racking up huge fees.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jtmnkri
    Zoning Goddess, I disagree. Excessive land use regulation is causing higher home prices.

    A quote from today's excellent New York Times housing article reads, "almost without exception [housing economists at Harvard, Yale, and Penn], though they come from different political persuasions and even different research specialties, have attributed high home prices to zoning."

    In the opinion of the Penn housing economist Susan Wachter, "the US housing market is somewhere between where we were before 1995 and 'where Europe is right now'- where, that is, a smaller supply of land and a stricter regulatory market make building significantly more expensive." Wachter was assistant HUD secretary in Clinton administration.

    I expect home prices to continue to rise in major US metropolitan areas like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The driver won't be typical economic fundamentals like rapid job and income growth, it will be excessive regulation that suffocates housing supply.

    Can anyone provide real world evidence or research that contradicts my position and argues that strict land use regulation causes housing prices and new construction costs to go down?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/16/ma...6brothers.html
    Trot out all the (subsidized by the housing industry, I'll bet) experts you want... go by the local zoning code, challenge it in court, or go someplace else to build. Builders will scream to their dying day that zoning is killing them; but it never stops them, does it? I can't see that slapping on a few square yard of brick out front, widening the lots lines by 10 feet, or varying the front setbacks is going to kill a project. You want to build in a jurisdiction, you know the codes going in. Schmooze, negotiate, whatever, up front, then don't bitch about how the codes are applied. Housing costs are up because so many morons are willing to pay big bucks to own a "new" home, however shoddily built, and however tiny the lot.

    I can see only a couple reasons that local/state codes affect cost:

    Builders are moving into marginal areas, and have to absorb the costs of wetlands mitigation.

    "Farmer John" out in the hinterland has decided the family homestead is worth about a gazillion more dollars than it really is.

    The cost of infrastructure to support sprawl is huge. Extending utilities, improving roads, etc. Sorry, problem of the developer for moving out so far.

  7. #7
    Builders will scream to their dying day that zoning is killing them; but it never stops them, does it? I can't see that slapping on a few square yard of brick out front, widening the lots lines by 10 feet, or varying the front setbacks is going to kill a project.
    No one is arguing that it will kill developments. However it adds to the cost. Developers do not take hits on the required profits, these costs are passed onto the consumer.

    Housing costs are up because so many morons are willing to pay big bucks to own a "new" home, however shoddily built, and however tiny the lot.
    You can't be serious.

    I can see only a couple reasons that local/state codes affect cost:

    Builders are moving into marginal areas, and have to absorb the costs of wetlands mitigation.

    "Farmer John" out in the hinterland has decided the family homestead is worth about a gazillion more dollars than it really is.

    The cost of infrastructure to support sprawl is huge. Extending utilities, improving roads, etc. Sorry, problem of the developer for moving out so far.
    Yet it's still cheaper to build sprawling subdivisions in Florida than a more urban community thanks to the current zoning regs. It's a lot easier and cheaper for a developer to apply for rezoning in the middle of nowhere than a infill location surrounded by NIMBYs.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner
    No one is arguing that it will kill developments. However it adds to the cost. Developers do not take hits on the required profits, these costs are passed onto the consumer.



    You can't be serious.


    I couldn't be more serious. After last year's hurricanes, the local paper did a series on how badly new homes were built. The vast majority leaked, either thru the roof, the windows/doors, or unbelievelably, thru the walls themselves. The year before, it was a similar study on other structural issues, and the majority of new homes failed. Bad roofs, bad driveways, bad everything. Around here, it's mostly unskilled Mexican laborers building new homes. Who in their right mind would buy that crap? So yeah, I think people who have that "new-home" mindset drive sprawl. "Must have big home". "Must live in a gated community". Etc. ad nauseum. Blame them for all the so-called developers' woes. If people would stop buying crappy homes around here, the developers would go rape another county.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    This is just an excuse by developers who really have no interest in building more affordable housing. Why build a 150k home when you can build one at 300k? People have become resigned to the fact that they're going to spend a larger portion of their income on housing and developers know this. The bubble will burst however.

  10. #10
    I could never understand why some feel the need to buy off plans either. It's buyer beware, and there are not many avenues to resolve issues of shotty construction. IMHO It's better to buy resale and see first hand the tangible product to avoid being scammed.

    But surely you're not attributing this "buy-new" mindset to the rise in real estate prices. If anything, crappy construction is what keeps it affordable.

    As a safety concern, I think the state should step-in and raise the standard for newly constructed homes. You're right about some of the crap rising today, utterly ridiculous - but not illegal.

    I never understood why people insist on owning homes they cannot afford, or live in a gated community at the edge of town. However that's not exactly the issue being discussed. Sure it causes sprawl, which is bad. But since when has new supply caused prices to rise?

    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller
    This is just an excuse by developers who really have no interest in building more affordable housing. Why build a 150k home when you can build one at 300k?
    Minimum lot sizes.

    Developers respond to market demands. If no one is willing to purchase a 300k home, you're not going to see whole subdivisions of 300k homes being constructed. If 150k homes are in demand, that's what will be built providing it's cost-effective for the developer to do so. One way to reduce cost is to have smaller spaces, but minimum lot sizes prevent that from occurring. This is why some are being priced out of the market.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 18 Oct 2005 at 8:25 AM.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner
    Minimum lot sizes.

    Developers respond to market demands. If no one is willing to purchase a 300k home, you're not going to see whole subdivisions of 300k homes being constructed. If 150k homes are in demand, that's what will be built providing it's cost-effective for the developer to do so. One way to reduce cost is to have smaller spaces, but minimum lot sizes prevent that from occurring. This is why some are being priced out of the market.
    Of course developers respond to market demands. But my point was that as long as there is a demand for higher-end housing that's all that will be built in most markets. this leaves a huge unmet need for new homes in the 150k range.

    And here in south florida we got whole subdivisions of 1/4 acre lots and homes are still going for 300k.Lot sizes really don't matter because homebuilders will constantly find ways to define their product as "upscale" with all sorts of amenities.
    The reality is that a lot of the product is really overpriced but I don't know why prices aren't coming down.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller
    The reality is that a lot of the product is really overpriced but I don't know why prices aren't coming down.
    You don't need to think about it that much. Prices have gone up because of a wave of inflation created by the Fed to conceal the crash of the tech bubble. There's no real shortage of housing, just a price disruption.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller
    Of course developers respond to market demands. But my point was that as long as there is a demand for higher-end housing that's all that will be built in most markets. this leaves a huge unmet need for new homes in the 150k range.
    I can agree with that.

    The problem with south Florida is there is so much demand that developers cannot build housing fast enough. All resources are directed towards where they can get the highest profits, which tends to be the luxury market.

    It's the same for any hot market in America. In other markets, there are reasonably priced homes being built.

    At least south Florida is doing the right thing and allowing all these new condos to be built. Can you imagine how bad the situation would be for the middle class and poor if a San Francisco-type policy was adopted.

    And here in south florida we got whole subdivisions of 1/4 acre lots and homes are still going for 300k.Lot sizes really don't matter because homebuilders will constantly find ways to define their product as "upscale" with all sorts of amenities.
    The reality is that a lot of the product is really overpriced but I don't know why prices aren't coming down.
    Supply and Demand. South Florida is an highly desirable location and many of the people relocating there are loaded. It's not overpriced if people are willing to pay it. There is only so much land available down there. Does it come as a surprise to anyone that lots are getting smaller and prices are going up? I'm sure you've seen the population projections for Florida. It's not just new homes that are going up in value, but all real estate.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner
    Yet it's still cheaper to build sprawling subdivisions in Florida than a more urban community thanks to the current zoning regs. It's a lot easier and cheaper for a developer to apply for rezoning in the middle of nowhere than a infill location surrounded by NIMBYs.
    Oh come on. It's cheaper to build out in the boonies because the boonies are further away and the land is cheaper. Land use regulations alone are not the only or even major factor limiting urban infill. There are a variety of transaction costs that raise prices, including toxic contamination (just get rid of them pesky environmental regulations-at least until you little girl brings in a bucket full of black ooze from the back yard), the difficulty of assembling larger tracts of land in urban areas (because we can only mass produce housing these days), conflicts with other land uses (heavy regional commercial and industrial), the costs of clearing existing development, poor schools in some urban districts, etc. etc. etc. As for minimum lot sizes, we are building houses on 3500 square foot lots in California. They're still expensive.

    Plus, like many libertarians, you assume that the regujlations exist in a vacuum imposed from above by evil planners. As if we have that much power. Have you never heard of the concept of "NIMBYism?" Not to forget that developers themselves often want restructed land use regs so to cre3ate the scearcity that allows the higher profits. For example, one large local builder bought his land 35 years ago. It's not regulations or even fees alone that have permitted him to build and sell $500,000 houses in a wind-swept wasteland.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner
    I can agree with that.

    The problem with south Florida is there is so much demand that developers cannot build housing fast enough. All resources are directed towards where they can get the highest profits, which tends to be the luxury market.

    It's the same for any hot market in America. In other markets, there are reasonably priced homes being built.

    At least south Florida is doing the right thing and allowing all these new condos to be built. Can you imagine how bad the situation would be for the middle class and poor if a San Francisco-type policy was adopted.



    Supply and Demand. South Florida is an highly desirable location and many of the people relocating there are loaded. It's not overpriced if people are willing to pay it..
    Exactly right OfficialPlanner, as usual.

    Here's an anecdote that partly explains the South Florida condo market. I have relatives in Dublin, Ireland. In 1997, I visited and they were living upper middle class - detached house in suburbs, gravel driveway, 2 average cars, 3 kids in good schools. I visited next in 2001. Same house, this time driveway boasting paving stones accessed by remote controlled mahogany gate, a BMW and Audi, kids still in the nice schools - and a condo in South Florida.

    Separately, my past boss - a Miami Dolphins fan - cashed in stock options and bought a new construction Miami condo.

    My point is there is huge amount of cash in this world and the cash pile is getting larger fast. Lots of this $$$ is being spent on condos in superstar cities where people really want to live. People around the world are willing and able to pay the Miami and New York prices.

    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    Trot out all the (subsidized by the housing industry, I'll bet) experts you want... go by the local zoning code, challenge it in court, or go someplace else to build. Builders will scream to their dying day that zoning is killing them; but it never stops them, does it? I can't see that slapping on a few square yard of brick out front, widening the lots lines by 10 feet, or varying the front setbacks is going to kill a project. You want to build in a jurisdiction, you know the codes going in. Schmooze, negotiate, whatever, up front, then don't bitch about how the codes are applied. Housing costs are up because so many morons are willing to pay big bucks to own a "new" home, however shoddily built, and however tiny the lot.
    Yes, zoning and excessive planning stop plenty of developers. In the New York area, zoning codes are polluted with minefields of useless regulations - its pathetic. Many municipalities have zoning regulations that criminalize renting out part of your own home! The only way to provide housing is to apply for and be granted variances or utilize the law and courts to crush the local regulators. Or worse, bribe the government to permit new housing. If you like, I'll provide a list of New Jersey housing developers and politicians living in prison cells right now for crimes related to housing provision. First though, just answer my question below.

    Can anyone provide real world evidence or research that contradicts my position and argues that strict land use regulation causes housing prices and new construction costs to go down? This is a straight question, and I deserve a straight answer.

    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Plus, how big an issue is housing affordability outside a few major metropolitan area? There is plenty of housing supply in Indianapolis-it may not be a brand new McTract Home in a distant collar county, but.... Given how vulnerable, California, for example, is to resource shortages (water, freeway capacity), the value of California farmland for national food supply, and natural hazards, should we chuck everything to ENCOURAGE even more growth here?
    You're right - housing supply and therefore housing affordability are not problems in Indiana. Part of this is because people don't want to live there, part of it is few government barriers to new construction.

    California has a population density of 84 people per km2. This is nothing! In New Jersey, where I live, population density is 438 people per km - more than 5 times California's density. There is plenty of land in California. History has shown people want to live there and are willing travel thousands of miles to do so. Yes, I do think we should encourage more growth in California. Highways can be built; we have a food surplus here and if we didn't we could get plenty from Australia, Brazil, and South Africa; and Americans have always managed to find water to meet their needs.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 18 Oct 2005 at 8:26 AM.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Oh come on. It's cheaper to build out in the boonies because the boonies are further away and the land is cheaper. Land use regulations alone are not the only or even major factor limiting urban infill.
    Cost isn't everything. Profit is the main determining factor. Obviously it will be more expensive to build infill developments but they payoffs are higher. There are two sides to the equation. Don't get me wrong, land use regulation is a great thing, but it's excessive land use regulation which can deter urban developments. It's near impossible to build anything in San Francisco these days. As a result, it has the nations most expensive median housing prices and the middle class is being forced into sprawl.

    There are a variety of transaction costs that raise prices, including toxic contamination (just get rid of them pesky environmental regulations-at least until you little girl brings in a bucket full of black ooze from the back yard)
    Typically those sites are avoided. No developer wants to get caught with a potential superfund site.

    the difficulty of assembling larger tracts of land in urban areas (because we can only mass produce housing these days)
    The reason why developers have to assemble large tracks of land is to fufill zoning requirements. Often times setbacks, greenspace, or maximum FARs requirements.

    As for minimum lot sizes, we are building houses on 3500 square foot lots in California. They're still expensive.
    There is a limited supply of land, and California is another one of those hot markets. Of course it will be expense.

    Plus, like many libertarians, you assume that the regujlations exist in a vacuum imposed from above by evil planners. As if we have that much power. Have you never heard of the concept of "NIMBYism?" Not to forget that developers themselves often want restructed land use regs so to cre3ate the scearcity that allows the higher profits. For example, one large local builder bought his land 35 years ago. It's not regulations or even fees alone that have permitted him to build and sell $500,000 houses in a wind-swept wasteland.
    Laughs out Loud. I have no idea how to respond to that one, but I'll try. Regulations are an important part of city building, however excessive and silly regulations deters city building. Regardless if they are silly or not, there are still the law and must be followed. Some of them have the unintended consequence of driving up prices or causing sprawl.

    Too much hostility vibes in this thread

    Why must planners and developers always be on different pages of the same book?
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 18 Oct 2005 at 8:30 AM.

  17. #17
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  18. #18
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jtmnkri
    Zoning Goddess, I disagree. Excessive land use regulation is causing higher home prices.
    And jurisdictions with little to no regulation lead to poor housing, low values built on roads and services that are substandard.

    This development isserviced by green garden hoses connecting the units to one another. Cost of park license $100 a year and $25 building permit fee



    Another simialr development, no septics, one well, patched together hoses. 5 units on an acre and a half




    A man and his daughter actually lived in this, until child protective services took his daughter away. Price of a permit $5.




    selling it for $600

    Would you want this as your neighbour?



    or this?



    Or the final comment, that would you rather homebuilders pay for an internal road network with suitable drainage patterns and servicing or have a province of 500 000 people pay $100 million dollars for a road because the existign highway has 1200 access points along it in 150km? Rules are here for a reason, and yes they do contribute to higher costs, but they also contribute to better development.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  19. #19
    I don't think anyone is arguing against sensible rules meant to prevent crap from being built. Personally I think Florida should ban trailer parks altogether due to the issue of persistent hurricanes. A lot of the houses built today are crap, but that's more of a state regulation than a planning concern IMHO.

    However rules such as minimum lot sizes, the original topic of this thread, can be excessive and do increase housing costs. Minimum lot sizes will not prevent crap from being built either.

    I really wish people would stop hijacking this thread and use it for developer bashing or for sprawl arguments.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally posted by jtmnkri

    California has a population density of 84 people per km2. This is nothing! In New Jersey, where I live, population density is 438 people per km - more than 5 times California's density. There is plenty of land in California. History has shown people want to live there and are willing travel thousands of miles to do so. Yes, I do think we should encourage more growth in California. Highways can be built; we have a food surplus here and if we didn't we could get plenty from Australia, Brazil, and South Africa; and Americans have always managed to find water to meet their needs.
    Comparing the overall density levels of the entire State of California to the entire State of New Jersey, a small state sandwiched between several metropolitan areas, is meaningless. I could care less if there is plenty of vacant land in the Mojave Desert, Alturas, or Crescent City. Implying that such land is all part of the same housing market is inaccurate and not a useful statistic.

    The housing affordability problem is concentrated in small metropolitan areas near the big cities. Even "near" such areas (we are talking 40-60 miles of freeway traffic now) There may be "enough land" if you don't mind replacing all the fertile farmland with agricultural infrastructure with more sprawl. And, if you can find a way to pay for the freeway infrastructure.

    Quote Originally posted by official planner
    However rules such as minimum lot sizes, the original topic of this thread, can be excessive and do increase housing costs. Minimum lot sizes will not prevent crap from being built either.
    Quarter acre minimum lot sizes are not the issue here in California, so you easterners and, especially, southerners have a different take on this. As I posted above, we are cramming single family homes onto the smallest possible lots here. Why not townhouses? Lawsuits-so let's start bashing the lawyers now (along with bashing the homebuilders who use cheap, untrained labor and build houses that leak and mold, leading to lawsuits).

    Quote Originally posted by donk
    And jurisdictions with little to no regulation lead to poor housing, low values built on roads and services that are substandard.
    question for Houstonians: I've read that Houston's laissez faire planning regime and the flexible, low cost housing that results has had a "negative" side effect, namely housing as a negative investment (when adjusted for inflation) because there is little incentive to hold onto a, for example, 1980 rancher when you can buy a newer house farther out for not much more money. That would be an interesting dynamic.

    Quote Originally posted by Official Planner
    Cost isn't everything. Profit is the main determining factor. Obviously it will be more expensive to build infill developments but they payoffs are higher. There are two sides to the equation. Don't get me wrong, land use regulation is a great thing, but it's excessive land use regulation which can deter urban developments. It's near impossible to build anything in San Francisco these days. As a result, it has the nations most expensive median housing prices and the middle class is being forced into sprawl.
    And my point is that "regulation" per se is only a part, a small part, frankly, of the reason for San Francisco's high housing prices. Have you ever looked at a map of San Francisco? It's basically built out. Unless, you start building houses on Golden Gate Park and the city's other park lands.

    San Francisco has high development densities in most neighborhoods (even the "suburban" flatlands of the west side) that eastern suburbanites, midwesterners, and southerners would be amazed at. It is difficult to build in the City for many reasons. The largest remaining underdeveloped areas are in fact former industrial wastelands which do have multiple examples of contamination problems. Minimum lot size and zoning regulations per se have little to do with the delay in redeveloping Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard. Even more importantly is the NIMBYism, which delays projects. And, let's be honest, given the poor design of much housing during the 1970s and 1980s, NIMBY neighbors can be forgiven for opposing newer, denser housing in their neighborhood. But, even absent that, we are talking expensive seismic codes, buying individual lots on a piecemeal basis, the costs of construction in a dense, chaotic urban environment, etc. etc. etc. To simplify things and say "zoning is responsible for high housing costs" is not a very good understanding of the Bay Area housing market and development situation.

    Quote Originally posted by Official Planner
    The reason why developers have to assemble large tracks of land is to fufill zoning requirements. Often times setbacks, greenspace, or maximum FARs requirements.
    Developers assemble large tracts of land because they can distribute their fixed costs over a much larger number of units. Banks prefer lending to larger developers building a large number of "products" in a preferred suburban development pattern. Most zoning ordinances allow for reductions/flexibility fo infill housing development, anyway.

    Greenspace and FAR limits are often imposed because of urban design goals for the city or community. Frankly, I would rather see many of these requirements eliminated (I won;t even say "reduced" because believe me, in California, we've already reduced them), but most developers would still, for marketing reasons, provide the backyards and suburban separation of housing that they believe theirm market dictates. I'm not sure how much of a practical change will result from these changes in code.

    Quote Originally posted by Official Planner
    Too much hostility vibes in this thread
    Too many of us with experience are, frankly, hostile to pronouncements from on high that "Zoning is the root of all evil." Most of us recognize that zoning can exacerbate market failures in the housing and development market. We would be blind to deny that. Nonetheless, we react in a somewhat hostile manner to those who swoop in and say "eliminate 100 years of planning practice, and the lovely market will miraculously cure everything, helped along by the architectural community, who can certainly be trusted to solve everything!!! )
    Off-topic:
    I miss ablarc

  21. #21
    BKM, I'll give you this. You make a lot of great points. I do not agree with everything you said, but you have changed my opinion regarding some aspects.

    We basically have the same mindset - promoting communities that are efficient and "new urban" in nature - just very different ways to go about that. Perhaps it probably has to do with schooling and experience. I hold a real estate degree, currently going for a second one in Finance, and work in the development industry. No, not a suburban track home builder, but a growing regional high-rise builder with a handful of dense, urban communities in the pipeline. I'm sure that if you had my experience (on the dark side as some call it), your opinions and beliefs may be swayed too.

    In case anyone is wondering why a developer is on a planning board, I'm going to planning school next fall (hopefully). I do business for the money, but planning for the love.

    Later

  22. #22

    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Solano County, California
    Posts
    6,468
    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner
    BKM, I'll give you this. You make a lot of great points. I do not agree with everything you said, but you have changed my opinion regarding some aspects.

    We basically have the same mindset - promoting communities that are efficient and "new urban" in nature - just very different ways to go about that. Perhaps it probably has to do with schooling and experience. I hold a real estate degree, currently going for a second one in Finance, and work in the development industry. No, not a suburban track home builder, but a growing regional high-rise builder with a handful of dense, urban communities in the pipeline. I'm sure that if you had my experience (on the dark side as some call it), your opinions and beliefs may be swayed too.

    In case anyone is wondering why a developer is on a planning board, I'm going to planning school next fall (hopefully). I do business for the money, but planning for the love.

    Later
    Hey, we could use you out here. More power to you. I sometimes wish I had taken that path.

    Where I would certainly grant you your underlying position is that zoning and the planning process does enforce medicocrity. It's just that this mediocrity is more than just "zoning" per se. We, for example, have to design all of our streets so that a gigantic Fire Department ladder truck (the mythical "Grumman") can fit into every cul-de-sac/ This is a town with maybe one or two buildings over three stories in height.

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