How Planning and Zoning Kills Jobs


Earlier today, Corrales MainStreet conducted a work-study session with councilors regarding a draft plan for “economic development” in the village. As expected, there was much discussion of, as the Corrales Comment put it, “eligibility for programs and incentives through the N.M. Local Economic Development Act.”

But Mayor Scott Kominiak made some points that would surely put smiles on the faces of advocates for the free market. Kominiak noted that in his deep-blue municipality, NIMBYism is rampant. The mayor added that the village has “a very unfriendly planning and zoning process.”

That reminded us of an Albuquerque Journal article published earlier this year. The piece examined “the stack of land-use policies and plans intended to govern growth” in the city. Planning Director Suzanne Lubar, in an interview with reporter Dan McKay, offered a grisly assessment: “Nobody has a true sense of what’s allowed and what’s not allowed. It’s not very predictable. … I had developers calling and saying, ‘I will never do a development in your city again.'”

Despite the groupthink of New Mexico’s economic-development establishment, taxpayer largesse is not the only tool for boosting jobs and entrepreneurship the state. (It’s not even an effective tool, but let’s leave that for another day.) A deep dive into and significant revision of unnecessary and unworkable regulations promises a sizable payback.