Tales of Tadeusz

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Hohenwald News: Zoning Fallacies

Our local paper has a definite viewpoint, which I don't object too, since your local internet portal (that would be this blog that you are gracing with your presence) also has a definite view. Occasionally those views clash like bad SF robots shooting eyebeams at each other.

It seems that a Mr. Criswell has a problem. He wants to sell his property, but the unnamed bank won't offer financing. First why is the bank unnamed? Its not like banks have anything to be embarrassed about, every one already knows you're a banker, it can't get much worse than that.

We'll return to the bank in a bit.

Why no financing? Because he built a building without referring to the code for the county which is completely legal since such code does not exist. So, he's a hard-working person with initiative. Good for him.

But without a Stamp of Government Approval in Day-Glo Colors on the outside of the outbuilding (probably just a shed for some tools but that is not made clear) visible from orbit, the bank refuses to okay the loan.

So the citizen was stung, and the bank demonstated the habit of mind (not the presence of mind) to be a bueraucrat, and the paper's solution is for the county to get zoned and have regulations.
If we did that, I assume we would have to have a lot grand-fathered in because otherwise there would be a lot of people annoyed at having to scramble for the suddenly limited resource of handymen who could charge a premium. And otherwise it would not pass.

So, one of these grandfathered in people needs to sell their house. They still need the gov't approval from Orbit (etched in with the mind-control rays) to sell, so the poor building inspector still has to trot out to their place, probably separate them from a chunk of their cash, inspect, proclaim it a wise course chosen by the gods...ooops, sorry forgot this was a modern democracy, and not a pre-modern tribe sacrificing a chicken to divine the fates...

In other words, lets cut out the foofarah, and make a small addition to the law. For the benefit of brain-dead bankers, allow a county person to petition the building inspector (aka fill out a simple postcard) to come inspect their property and see if it meets a basic code such as the one used in Hohenwald proper.

There might be a few wrinkles needing ironing here, but thats the whole shirt mostly done. And without saddling the hard-working and sometimes barely surviving residents of Lewis County with yet another burden.

We need good laws. Really, we do. They form the structure to support growth, but they don't cause growth in and of themselves. And bad laws retard or kill growth, and laws like this one, that are mostly innocuous, but a weight, just slowly strangle the growth, and people in a decade will still be wondering why Lewis County failed to take off economically.

Let me be clearer. You can't legislate success. You can legislate conditions that will help create success. Don't zone the suffering people of Lewis County.


  • Something doesn't smell right. There are loans made all the time on buildings outside of zoned areas. There are alternative ways to determine that a building is good enough to count as security for the loan -- appraisers do that all the time.

    There are some facts missing in this case.

    By Blogger Ed Darrell, at 7:17 PM  

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