The Z-word

So what’s not to like about zoning? Plenty, apparently. Back when I served on the 2020 Commission (1990-1993), we called it the “Z-word” because whenever anyone dared utter “zoning”, an angry uprising seemed certain to follow.

Arguments against zoning came at us in a surprising barrage. However, none of them made any sense. In fact, many of them were downright stupid, especially the themes and variations on “It’s my land and I will damn well do anything I want with it!” Or the ever popular, “Who are you guys to tell me what to do with my land?”

These are the attitudes that lead to one resident burning his garbage while other folks downwind have to breathe the putrid fumes. Then there are the grass fires which do not stop at the property lines but blaze away endangering adjacent properties. “Spaghetti lots” that are too narrow allow septic systems to run off into neighboring yards. Slobs that exercise their rights to accumulate trash seem to enjoy letting it blow away all over the countryside.

The lack of zoning leads to a long list of antisocial assaults perpetrated against neighboring residents. What makes the entrenched resistance to zoning so baffling is that the victims outnumber the perpetrators. Why do people want to live like this? Why put up with it?

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