Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Planning Applications 30th July 2008

There are no new applications for me to list this week, but I will briefly mention a related bit of info about planning in Houston.

I was reading the paper over breakfast this week (the New York Times I think), and I was reminded that in Houston there are no zoning laws for planning at all. Actually, it was to do with recycling - the company picking up recycle containers was explaining that as residential development can take place anywhere, and usually does so haphazardly, it makes it much more complex to get to all the homes, rather than pretty much driving through street after street of neighbourhoods, as we're likely to do in the UK.

Can you imagine no zoning? Factory, next to small houses, next to corporate offices, next to a freeway, next to big cinema. It really does happen this way. I much prefer the UK level control, even though sometimes it can feel onerous.

However, on the flip side of this argument, is the contention that zoning (in UK terms, our pretty strict planning laws, coupled with things like Tree Protection Orders), restrict supply (as otherwise houses will simply be slapped up all over the place), and therefore probably ensure higher property prices. Houston has seen a lower level of depression in its housing market, which could be the result of its lower house prices, in turn a result of its no-zoning policy.

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