The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Contraception by Zoning

Posted on | February 1, 2019 | Comments Off on Contraception by Zoning

If you’ve got a large family, you know why my family prefers to live as far as possible from a major city. But if you need a further clue, consider this article about zoning policy:

At the end of last year, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission weighed a proposed zoning change that would effectively ban new day-care centers — along with tire stores and car repair shops — in a large chunk of northwest Philadelphia. The bill swiftly encountered fierce resistance, and it now appears dead. But the effort to block additional child-care facilities with a zoning overlay hints at a broader relationship between city planning and the cost of raising children. A growing body of research indicates that restrictive zoning — which often blocks the services and housing that families need—may help to explain why family sizes are shrinking in the United States.
The U.S. birth rate recently sunk to a 30-year low, a trend that’s been blamed on everything from economic anxieties and climate change to the rise of smartphones and the Millennial “sex recession.” Perhaps we should also lay some of the responsibility at the feet of city planning.
As bizarre as an anti-day-care bill may seem, the fear of more children coming into a community is a mainstay at new housing proposal hearings. Particularly in high-cost suburbs along the coasts, the mere inclusion of three-bedroom apartments — the kind of units young families need — can get a project in hot water with elected officials. While the justifications for blocking this kind of housing vary from preserving rural character to preventing (real or imagined) school overcrowding, the result is that more and more municipalities are adopting policies designed to keep out children and the families who care for them.
In the New York suburb of Garwood, New Jersey, city officials adopted a master plan earlier in 2018 that places a total prohibition on units with three or more bedrooms. In Nutley, New Jersey, another New York suburb, a July zoning fight came with assurances that three-bedroom units—and the children that come with them — weren’t part of the plan. In the Garden State more broadly, municipalities increasingly meet their state-mandated fair-share affordable housing requirements by building only senior housing. Affordable housing proposals that include three-bedroom units are rejected out of hand, leaving working families with few options.

You can read the rest. Let me say that I am against “affordable housing” mandates, which are another harmful utopian regulatory scheme. If New Jersey has enacted a state law that disrupts the normal mechanism of supply and demand in the housing market, that’s the root of their problem, but good luck getting the Democrats who run the state legislature to understand that. And let’s not overlook the issue of racism involved here: The kind of nice suburban liberal who supports restrictive zoning laws is a hypocrite who is all in favor of “inclusion” and “diversity,” so long as it doesn’t his neighborhood and guess what kind of family typically needs a three-bedroom apartment?

Yep — Mexicans, or some other “people of color” that the nice suburban liberal doesn’t want living in his neighborhood.

Families like mine — a white couple with six kids — are rare enough nowadays that most people think we’re non-existent, and certainly the people who support zoning restrictions that ban three-bedroom apartments don’t do this because they fear an influx of white Christian families. No, they don’t want Mexicans (or Puerto Ricans or Dominicans or whatever) moving into their communities, and zoning is the NIMBY (not in my back yard) method of preventing the liberal agenda they otherwise support from actually affecting them directly.



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