sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

........N&O editorial endorses $50 million for a statewide housing trust fund.

Of course, it's for the kids:

"....The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $603 a month nowadays, exceeding the 30 percent-of-income mark for 40 percent of Tar Heel renters.

"The hard choices available to those renters include spending less for food or accepting substandard housing. When families make such choices, children often go to school hungry and sleepy. Learning can't help but suffer, diminishing the future for these young people with every day there is no relief."

But the editorial doesn't address the root cause of the shortage in affordable housing. Fortunately, both the Reason Foundation and the Thoreau Institute do.

TI concludes "that housing costs in California and numerous other parts of the country have been steadily driven up by a housing supply crunch caused by urban planning and land use regulations aimed at controlling growth. These regulations take a variety of forms, such as urban growth boundaries that restrict development on land outside cities, limitations on building permits, cumbersome development approval processes, and numerous environmental and open space preservation rules."

Does this apply to North Carolina? I'd say so. So does Randal O'Toole:

“If North Carolina is not careful, it will soon find itself in the same position as Florida, whose rapidly growing housing prices threaten to devastate that state’s economy.”

O'Toole recommends "that North Carolina cities review their planning rules to insure that they do not prevent homebuilders from meeting the demand for new housing."

Statewide, North Carolina has an aggressive land conservation agenda. It goes all the way to the top, as evidenced by Gov. Easley's recent statement that the state is trying to acquire even more land "at every opportunity."

Here's the interesting part: the $50 million, according to the N&O, would be "enough to house 6,000 families." That sounds like a lot of housing to me. So where are we going to find the land?


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