Rightside Zoning Out
The Concept Of Open Space Is A Direct Question Of Zoning—A Question Which Should Not Be Answered By Made Up Committees Or Greedy Businesses
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I spend quite a bit of time proselytizing about the beneﬁts of the free market, including how individual choice is a better divining rod than edicts from the Central Committee’s Clubhouse. But, just like certain recent Carnival Cruise trips have disproven the maxim, “Vacations Are Always Better Than Work,” sometimes government does do a better job than the private sector. Protecting the environment is usually one such example.
Let’s establish a premise: businesses are inherently greedy. Their purpose is to make money ﬁrst, serve the community second. There’s nothing wrong with that, since without the overarching drive to make money, businesses wouldn’t have the inclination to innovate, expand and provide unique products. And don’t start throwing out the names of companies that donate all kinds of stuff to kids in Africa. They wouldn’t be able to do that without making a buck ﬁrst. Because of that, the intersection of proﬁt and environmental stewardship can be a thorny path.
Unfettered development and unrestricted industrialization cannot exist in a world in which we value clean air and water, or whatever you think “open space” is. Government must create boundaries that deﬁne what impact businesses can have on the community. I’m not talking about taxes, OSHA codes or whether Cardiac Burger can set up shop next to your house.
We’re talking about the valuation of things we all share: air, water and the environment as a whole.
This brings us to the question of open space, which is really a question of zoning and what value we put on looking at trees instead of strip malls. We obviously put great value on God’s greenery, since we have city parks, walking trails, riparian zones, wildlife refuges or, in the case of Detroit, miles and miles of newly uninhabited neighborhoods. These places are amenities that all can enjoy thanks to tax dollars. Take Virginia Beach’s green zone as a case in point. Some view it as city overreach that is keeping housing developers and entrepreneurs from realizing their ﬁnancial potential. Those naysayers negate the fact of why some people live in Pungo. The trade off for driving 20 minutes to the grocery store is that you get to enjoy the 20-minute drive to the grocery store.