28 May 2008

Will the housing decline allow a change in development?

In the Lehigh Valley, just across the Delaware from us, the planners are seeing the change in housing market as a potential lever for making larger zoning changes. In particular, the Morning Call reports, they hope that they can stop allowing (or is it requiring?) the development of so many large lots and McMansions.
''We're not looking to eliminate big homes, we just think there should be a balance,'' said Planning Commission Executive Director Michael Kaiser. ''Most of what we see now is a 3,000-square-foot home with giant rooms and a cathedral ceiling. The typical firefighter, policeman or medical workers can't afford it. We'd like to provide more options.''
The developers are saying that the current situation isn't their fault, but is the fault of the planning boards.
''Don't blame us, we're just building what the current zoning laws allow,'' said Chuck Hamilton, executive officer of the Lehigh Valley Builders Association. ''If a township requires 1-acre lots, no one wants to put a small house on that. If these planners allow smaller lots, we'll be happy to build smaller homes, if people want them.''
(h/t Eschaton)

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