Thursday, April 06, 2006

OpinionJournal - The Anti-Kelo

Municipalities have traditionally tackled redevelopment in one of two ways:
  1. Hire one single developer, get a plan from him, and then kick everybody out who doesn't agree. That's what happened to the Kelos of New London, CT. It is the egregious practice that the Supreme Court in Kelo v. New London essentially ratified.
  2. Do nothing.
The Mayor and city council of Anaheim, CA, had a different idea. Recognizing that city government often stood in the way of redevelopment, with inflexible zoning plans and a permitting process that hurt anyone who wanted to renovate, the city council decided that in a truly blighted area, they would waive permitting fees and liberally grant zoning variances to private individuals doing their own renovation and redevelopment. Moreover, instead of granting a franchise to one developer, the Mayor invited several to come in, each to redevelop a piece of downtown Anaheim. Result: those developers now had to compete on price for downtown properties, and local residents and business owners could now sell out for much more than any eminent-domain board would have dribbled out to them. No resentment--and no white elephants, either. And as the Mayor would surely agree, you can't argue with success.
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