Houston, We Have a (Zoning) Problem

The following article was published in the Spring 2009 issue of The Objective Standard.

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Houston, Texas, my hometown, is one of only two American cities with a population greater than one hundred thousand that has not imposed zoning laws on its citizens. (The other city is Pasadena, Texas, a suburb […]

Pro-Zoners Sing the Same Tune

This was originally posted on Live Oaks on May 7, 2010. Comments have not been migrated.

For decades zoning advocates have promised that the evils of hell would be unleashed upon Houston if we did not adopt comprehensive zoning. The prognosticators have claimed that the city won’t attract businesses, that our quality of life will […]

The War on Property Rights Continues

This was originally posted on Live Oaks on October 20, 2009. Comments have not been migrated.

The headline for Monday’s lead article in the Chronicle blares: “Tough Land-Use Law Supported”. The headline implies that a specific law has been proposed and is generating support. But in fact, the headline refers to a poll conducted by […]

Nuisance and Zoning

This was originally posted on Live Oaks on November 17, 2009. Comments have not been migrated.

One of the primary justifications for zoning is to prevent “incompatible” land uses, such as keeping industrial facilities out of residential areas. Such “incompatible” uses are regarded as an inherent nuisance, and rather than wait for the nuisance to […]

“Unplanned” Charm in Montrose

This was originally posted on Live Oaks on October 13, 2009. Comments have not been migrated.

The American Planning Association recently named Houston’s Montrose one of its “10 Great Neighborhoods” for 2009. The Chronicle laments this award, because the planning that has occurred in Montrose was conducted privately, rather than by the city:

As the […]

Plato’s War on Houston: From Zoning to “SmartCode”

This was originally posted as a series on Live Oaks in September 2009. Comments have not been migrated.

That is what I mean when I say that “right” is the same thing in all states, namely the interest of the established government; and government is the strongest element in each state, and so if we […]

“SmartCode” isn’t Smart

This was originally posted on Live Oaks on September 2, 2009. Comments have not been migrated.

In the aftermath of the city granting permission to Buckhead Development to build the Ashby High Rise, Houston bloggers have jumped in with a variety of suggestions for avoiding similar conflicts in the future. One of those suggestions comes […]

Lies, Misrepresentations, and Scare Tactics

This was originally posted on Live Oaks on August 20, 2009. Comments have not been migrated.

During the debate over zoning in Houston in the early 1990s I sponsored a booth at a convention on Houston development. Among the literature we distributed was a pamphlet that described how zoning operates in other cities. One of […]

The City We Deserve

This was originally posted on Live Oaks on August 13, 2009. Comments have not been migrated.

A recent piece on the KHOU web site asks if zoning is in Houston’s future. While the article does not come to a definitive conclusion, it implies that more restrictive land-use controls will be necessary. Or, as urban planner […]

A Debate on Zoning

This was originally posted on Live Oaks on December 4, 2008. Comments have not been migrated.

The comments to a post at Houston Strategies evolved into a lengthy debate over zoning. The debate was civil and interesting. The advocate for zoning presented reasonable arguments which are shared by many people. Below are some excerpts from […]