Re: Zoning and low cost housing
From: Brian Bartholomew (bbstat.ufl.edu)
Date: Wed, 28 May 2008 14:01:18 -0700 (PDT)
> I think low cost housing might be impeded by lack of investment
> capital interest. There is little profit to be made and so the
> incentive by those who fund the building of housing is low.
> Recently in a small town not far from where I live an old farm was
> subdivided into lots to create a manufactured housing development,
> focusing on 2 bedroom, small inexpensive units. It went under
> because the bankers did not see it as a good investment and there
> were no other investors interested since the return on the
> investment would be lower than typical I suppose. The total cost of
> the project, which would have created 35 low cost homes was less
> than 2 million dollars but nobody in government nor private industry
> went for it.  The subdivided land got sold and now there is a
> proposal to build 25 high end houses on it, and apparently this has
> lots of investment interest.
>
> So capitalism seems to drive larger profit making projects and at
> least my areas local government seems to have little support for the
> public interest sector which would benefit from low cost housing.


In the absence of zoning, the "subdivision" process would be between
the former and new owners(s) of the land, there would be no legal
obligation to exclude stores and jobs residents could walk to, and
people wanting really low-cost housing could live in tents.

In this specific farm development, could the tenters have beat the
offers the high-end housers made for the lots?  Maybe, maybe not.  But
at least they'd be allowed to try, rather than being threatened with
jail for attempting to evade zoning.

For people willing to live (at least temporarily) in their cars,
tents, campers, yurts, shipping containers, Katrina cottages, etc.  I
think the highest cost in time and money is legally being allowed to
do it (zoning/permitting/inspections/regulations/certifications/
insurances/building codes), the second is the purchase/mortgage price
of the land, and everything else is insignificant.  Constructing a
weathertight, conditioned enclosure with a bed, kitchen, and bath just
isn't that hard anymore.  A used Aistream is $5K, but just TRY to
place one on an urban infill lot.

                                                        Brian

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