Comment 64532

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted June 03, 2011 at 12:02:43

What these massive costs mean is that only individuals or institutions with massive resources can undertake development projects. Anybody else - even if they have everything necessary to actually do the work - simply gets excluded. This isn't just a matter of the "creative class" - it's a much more old-fashioned kind of class exclusion, and it applies to at least 90% of the population of this city. How many among us even have the ability to borrow enough to pay the Pearl Company's six-figure rezoning bill?

These charges are a tax on originality - they drive costs up for unique designs and streamline the approvals of standardized structures (fast food, suburban tract housing etc). If you are going to attempt something unique, it will probably have to focus on higher-income customers if you wish to make ends meet - not the easiest task when you can only afford to set up shop in low-income neighbourhoods. And then there's the huge drop in building quality as prices are squeezed and cheap, standardized "conventional" construction techniques are given the easiest approvals.

I'm all for giving neighbours a say in nearby development, as well as performance based codes, and those which ensure structural safety. But as it stands, this department seems to be acting like some sort of bizarre bureaucratic extortion racket. It's stamping out small-scale, inoffensive uses like backpackers hostels and paying no attention to falling buildings directly off the town's main square. These laws need to be scrapped, and until they are we're going to see their gloomy legacy everywhere around us.

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