Monday, November 28, 2016
The Red Tape Times (article 10)
Could there be anything stranger than the sentiment that governments should dictate the aesthetic values of their citizens? Imagine if a government were to prohibit certain styles of painting or certain genres of music. That would be fascism you say? But that is the same line of reasoning that municipal governments across the country use to prohibit their citizens from living in houses under a certain arbitrary square footage minimum. The Etowah City Commission amended an ordinance that prohibits houses under 600 square feet on the grounds that it is "not in Etowah's best interest to have 200 square foot housing on a lot that had two regular sized houses on either side"and the slippery slope argument that if allowed tiny homes (under 600 square feet) would become commonplace, instead of remaining the rare exception as they are in cities where they are allowed, and significantly lower property values, consequently reducing city revenue. The Wasilla City Council placed a temporary moratorium on the construction of single family dwellings smaller than 700 square feet. Their reason was an appeal to a time in the past when a tiny home tenement became crime ridden, which was really a result of their own policy failures. The drug epidemics that spur crime waves result from government policy failures, not anything that emerges organically from society. The same is true of poverty and all other social ills. Similarly, the construction code of Boise does not permit homes under a few hundred square feet because the city's central planner is concerned with "the health and safety" of their residents, even thought they are still much safer and healthier than Idaho's 2,247 homeless people and the rapidly growing unsheltered population in Boise, which has increased by 122% in the last year to be sure. In light of this abysmal failure, it seems to me that the wisest thing for these Boise bureaucrats to do would be to swallow their pride and step out of the way of entrepreneurial types who've thought up a new solution to the problem of finding affordable housing.