September 15, 2015

Houston, we have a problem: It's called zoning (compounded by growth, etc.)

Based on this Reuters story, one of many saying Houston will likely pass Chicago in population in a decade (and both metro Houston and the Metroplex, perhaps earlier) could catch metro Chicago by 2050, I Tweeted Mayor Annise Parker's official account saying that if she wanted to give Houston one last gift (other than assuring the win of HERO on referendum) it would be called this thing called "zoning."

Because, dear mayor ...

First, more and more of those individuals will soon move to the suburbs, rather than see a pawn shop next to their kids' schools or a porn shop next to their family's church.

Second, you may have planning, and development districts, but they're not the same thing. Not even close.

Third, your planning won't allow for the traffic snarl of another 500,000 or more commuters.

Her response? And, she, or somebody from staff, did respond:

I replied back:
And, yes, I believe that.

Let's take a bigger overall look, dear mayor.

First, you've got an revenue cap down there. Has that horse left the barn? Are you going to have Houston be a mini-California after Proposition 13? So far, I know that answer is no.

Besides that, Houston's population density is light enough, it would be easy to create traditional zoning, with the appropriate grandfathering rules.

Second, per what I said about climate change ... let's say 2040, not 2025; Houston could well be enough hotter to be like New Delhi today. Do you think a bunch of businesses really want to move there? Do you think employees forced to relocate won't do their damnedest to get back out?

As for the other effects of climate change? By 2050, Houston is expected to see the 7th-greatest relative monetary loss related to climate change of any large city. It's the only U.S. city on that particular top 20. More on sea level rise here.

Funny that Her Honor, along with former San Antonio His Honor Henry Cisneros, penned a piece for the Texas Tribune's Trib Talk, less than three months ago.

Its header?

"How Climate Change Could Devastate the Texas Economy."

Zoning makes for more compact, more economic land development. And, if we continue to drive our cars, it still makes it easier in some ways to put particular types of structures together to use tools of zoning.

Good luck on your neoliberal Senate campaign in 2018


PDiddie said...

The only thing you're wrong about is that she is running for state comptroller in three years.

And she might actually win if Jethro Bodine's $65-oil-as-budget-factor extends its fail. That'll also slow Houston's population roll too, FWIW.

Gadfly said...

Didn't think about her challenging Hegar Slacks (Off). Thought she might aim higher. That said, she's got the finance background to do it.

True dat on Houston's growth slowing if this continues.