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...the implication is clear. If looser regs are better, no regs are the best. If you acknowledge that some reg's are a necessary evil, then I'd say they aren't evil, if they protect us all from something truely evil.

What drives me nuts is that you're accusing me of oversimplifying things (in a blog comments section, of all things) and then you write something like this.

Not all regs are created equal, because they don't regulate the same thing! I like form-based codes. Very little of our current zoning (generally speaking, not just in DC) deals with form, however. Most is focused on use. And the parts that do deal with form aren't dealt with well.

Much like Warren Buffet assures us that higher imcome tax won't stop a trader from making money on a good deal, I don't think some regulations keep developers from making money where there's some to be made.

Our current regulations absolutely do. Say you're a small-time developer in a market with decent but not overwhelming demand with a relatively small lot and you want to build some apartments. The zoning code requires you add parking spaces, which dramatically increases your cost. It prevents you from building - because you can't hit that target market. Perhaps your lot is too small to geometrically fit the required parking.

Maybe you'd rather build to the prevailing height in the area, but that would exceed the FAR you are allowed. Rezoning the parcel takes a lot of time and money before the ZC. All these things add cost, and that cost has to be passed on to the end user, or the developer won't build.

Now, if the demand increases such that you think you can charge higher rents, then your development pencils out on paper, even with those higher costs.

This isn't to say that costs shouldn't be passed on to the end user - what I am saying is that we need to be very understanding of exactly what those costs are and what we get out of it.

If you manage to quote this as 'all regulation is bad' I just might snap.

by Alex B. on Dec 20, 2012 9:16 am • linkreport

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