Trevor's Takes: March 2024

by: Trevor Miles, LPNC

In my part of the Old North State, we had a full week of rain the first week of March. This rain revealed that I in fact had two leaks above my bathroom. This has resulted in me having an exponentially larger “honey-do” list then I planned on having. However, I am fortunate that I live in a state where I am not required to hold a license or hire a contractor to perform a simple roof repair.

Despite this one beautiful relief from government overreach that many Americans are subject to, the majority of us in NC are still subject to a different but equally heinous form of government overreach: exclusionary zoning. Before I explain why exclusionary zoning is so bad, let me give a very quick definition. Exclusionary zoning is a form of zoning laws which limits specific uses to specific parcels of land which are zoned in a specific fashion, i.e. small businesses to commercial zones, manufacturing plants to industrial zones, etc. In addition, most municipalities, except a few forward-thinking ones, tend to use exclusionary zoning to artificially limit the supply of housing available by prioritizing mid-range single-family housing over starter homes and multi-family housing. This disrupts that natural cycle of economic growth and exacerbates the housing crisis.

In addition to this, it also violates private property rights under the guise of “ensuring the public safety and protecting property values.” Now, I can understand subject a particularly dangerous use such as a toxic waste disposal facility to a specific set of conditions meant to minimize public harm, but the non-aggression principle handles this quite well. There is absolutely no reason for regular commercial businesses and residential housing of any type to be subjected to artificially-created government restrictions for the sake of protecting someone’s property value, which is already an artificially-created subjective monetary value. 

Also, as if to rub salt in the wounds, in NC, towns and cities have the right to exercise zoning control over unincorporated areas up to three miles outside of town without having to have any provision of utilities, promises of annexation, or any elected representation on the town/city council (watch Liberty iNC Season 3 Episode 3) where Hon Brian Lewis and LPNC Vice-Chair Sean Haugh talk extra-territorial jurisdiction). Talk about a violation of rights with representation.

So, how do we reverse course and rectify this wrong? The optimal solution would be to eliminate the majority of zoning laws in NC, which the state legislature could do with the stroke of a pen if they so pleased, and replace them with a specific set of conditions for uses which have the highest risk of causing harm to the general public if something disastrous were to occur. Alternatively, inclusionary zoning or Japanese-style zoning, where residential construction is permitted in all zones, would also be a viable alternative to our current system which would help to alleviate the current housing crisis we find ourselves in.

Either way, we're a Dillon's-rule state, so change would need to come by mandate from Raleigh. This might actually work to our advantage, as I find it highly unlikely most local politicians would willing yield their unconstitutional authority to attack the economic wellbeing of their constituents/potential opponents.

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  • Rob yates
    published this page in Trevor's Takes 2024-03-31 23:36:28 -0400
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