How Planning and Zoning Kills Jobs

zoning

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.

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2 Replies to “How Planning and Zoning Kills Jobs”

  1. Earlier this year the Las Cruces City Council denied a rezoning request because there was a rumor that Wal-Mart was a potential user.
    No real (Read “honest”) discussion of whether and to what extent the zoning itself, with the range of potential uses, was a good thing. WHO the user is should be absolutely irrelevant in zoning, just as “The neighbors do not like it and are opposed” is irrelevant (And generally unacceptable as an opposition argument)
    In other words, the issue was not land use, but an expression of hate from Council (Proleftive, you know). They have no business making business decisions.

    As far as Houston, they realized long ago that ALL zoning is speculative.
    Of course growth is far ahead of management there too; they, Dallas, and Austin are now in the top 12 for traffic delay for commuters.

    And your Planning Director is right: Albuquerque IS a sorry place to attempt to do business. The winning speculators know people have to spend money somewhere, and they bet folks will spend locally rather than travel to attractive markets.

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