Letters to the Editor

More to zoning laws and effects

In a November 14th letter to the editor Mr. Fred Yancey criticized the upzoning that is working its way through the Olympia’s city council. There are a lot of reasons for reducing or outright abolishing zoning and other land use regulations.

The history of zoning laws is a history of racism. Baltimore in 1910 adopted the first zoning laws that were openly drawn to keep African-Americans and whites separated by law. Many other cities soon followed. The book “The Color of Law” by Richard Rothstein covers this.

Zoning also contributes to auto emission because we generally have to drive further than we would in a traditionally designed city. Zoning laws also contribute to homelessness and while low income people pay the costs the financial benefits flow to the longtime homeowners.

Land use regulations such as zoning are expensive. In a New York Times op-ed of September 6, 2017 by economists Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti regarding their study which was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. They write “”Without these regulations, our research shows, the United States economy today would be 9 percent bigger — which would mean, for the average American worker, an additional $6,775 in annual income.” If Washington State’s GDP of 2017 was nine percent larger that would be about $45 billion bump to the state’s economy. I’ll bet a lot of people here would like to have $6,775 increase in their annual income.

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