The Counselors of Real Estate published an article by James Burling, vice president of legal affairs at Pacific Legal Foundation, on America’s Sordid History of Exclusionary Zoning. Burling traces the history state-sponsored, racially motivated exclusionary housing laws via George McMechen’s efforts to obtain a home in the suburbs.
He concludes, “it’s time to rethink how we plan and zone our neighborhoods. Landowners must be given back the right to build the homes that the market demands. Landowners may be required to mitigate for traffic and other real impacts, but they should not be held hostage to ever escalating community wish lists. Landowners should have a clear and enforceable roadmap for regulatory compliance. They should not be subject to endless years of litigation from NIMBYs who will use the courts to nitpick even the best projects to death. Only when we begin to build enough housing can we expect prices to reach an equilibrium with demand. Only then will working class families once again enjoy the American dream rather than the new American nightmare.”