Paul Weyrich on "Smart Growth".
- This was written by Paul Weyrich, who also runs http://www.trolleycar.org .
"Smart Growth" Deprives Property Owners of Rights
by Paul M. Weyrich
From the "Endangered Liberties" Television Program
While most observers are fixated on the big picture in Washington and how
our liberties will be impacted by the final outcome of the Presidential
election, there are things going on at the local level which in the long run
may be just as important to what kind of nation we are.
There is a so-called "smart growth" movement which has been sweeping the
nation. It is just an updated version of land use proposals which have been
kicking around for decades. But instead of framing opposition to growth in
the negative, the new socialists have learned from their mistakes. They now
frame their opposition to growth in positive terms, as if they were really
in favor of growth, it should just be done the right way.
But peel away "smart growth" proposals at the local level and you have the
same draconian restrictive measures which were contained in the old land use
measures which were discredited and defeated decades ago.
Supposedly "smart growth" avoids the kind of congestion which is now
clogging our major metropolitan areas. That sounds like a good idea. But in
the end "smart growth" is a new way of depriving property owners of their
rights. When the owners of the property can't use the property in any way
except for that which the government dictates, then the property has been
devalued, only the owners have not been compensated in any way.
It is a new way that socialists have found to expropriate property without
actually seizing it outright. The "smart growth" approach is much more
clever and sophisticated and the reaction is far more muted than when there
is a direct run at property itself.
The fact is that major metropolitan areas can have actual "smart growth"
without any of the draconian measures that have come to be associated with
that term. Cities are finding that by adopting fixed guideway transit lines,
most notably light rail routes, new development follows around the stations.
In some cases this new development is in the billions of dollars. The
development ranges from office buildings to retail shopping centers to
condos and apartment complexes to single family developments. People want to
live work and shop around the rail lines that can take them to and from
downtown or to and from the suburbs in sleek, fast, dependable quiet trains.
And all of this is done without any kind of loss of property rights. On the
contrary. Property values are greatly enhanced by these rail lines. Still
growth is controlled in an orderly fashion. Communities can get a handle on
it. It is no longer out of control. So while some of these fixed guideway
transit lines may be relatively expensive, they pay big dividends to the
cities in the long run. Moreover, they provide for orderly growth without
taking away any of the freedoms which the "smart growth" people advocate.
You would think that "smart growth" advocates would be big boosters of mass
transit. It turns out that in many cases they are the biggest enemies of
transit for precisely the reason that the real objective of "smart growth"
is the restriction of freedom and good urban transit actually expands
It is a complex subject which deserves further exploration but suffice it to
say that it is possible to have decent planning in urban communities with
good transportation while enhancing property values through good fixed
guideway transit systems. So-called "Smart growth" that doesn't contemplate
going that route is just another way to take away freedom and in the end
destroy property values and diminish people's rights, all in the name of
building a better community. It behooves residents of urban areas to pay
close attention to what is going on at the local level these days. Look at
what not voting and not paying attention has brought us nationally. Well,
I'm here to tell you if you don't pay attention to your own backyard, you
may wake up one of these days to find out your whole life has been changed
and you won't know what has happened to you or why. Sorry about that. But
the days of non-involvement at any level are over if you want to preserve
your freedoms in this land.
Paul Weyrich is president of the Free Congress Foundation.
For media inquiries, contact Notra Trulock 202.546.3000 /
For other questions or comments, contact Angie Wheeler
On Tue, 28 November 2000, "Ronald Dawson" wrote:
..."smart growth" is a new way of depriving property owners of their rights....
If you're in favor of individual property rights, (and at all religious), I hope you join me in "prayer" that Mr. Gore does NOT succeed in hid bid to steal the Presidency...
Signup for your free USWEST.mail Email account http://www.uswestmail.net
- Ronald Greek wrote:
>..."smart growth" is a new way of depriving property owners of theirrights....
>steal >the Presidency...
>If you're in favor of individual property rights, (and at all religious), I
>hope you join me in "prayer" that Mr. Gore does NOT succeed in hid bid to
Well I'm some what religious, but I am Canadian. So my take on US politics
doesn't count that much. Dawson