Thursday, January 12, 2017

Federal governments take over of local zoning via HUD's 'Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing' rule may be rescinded.

A few months ago, Nashville passed a so-called "inclusionary zoning' ordinance that was a taking of property by dictating the price an owner must rent his property.  Nashville is not alone in this power grab and many cities  have considered and many have passed similar inclusionary zoning ordinances.

Almost unnoticed, a federal power grab was also occurring which was very similar, if not worse. This new power grab would essentially nationalize a city's zoning authority and mandate a national form of zoning.  Under this new federal rule a city would not be permitted to allow private development to occur which was not 'Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.'  Under this rule a city could not approve the development of more upscale housing in the same part of town with other upscale housing unless there was economic and racial integration in that part of town.  The new rule would not actually create a local federal zoning board, and would not dictate exactly what constituted an adequate amount of "housing choice," and cities would be unsure exactly what was and what was not permitted, but would be under constant threat of being sued for approving a zoning request that did not affirmatively further fair housing. 

The new rule would apply to any cites that accepts any of several types of federal financial assistance from HUD, such as funds for public housing or community development.  That is practically every city in America. There is now a bill pending to rescind this Federal power grab.  I applaud this effort. With Republicans in control of both the legislative and executive branch there is no reason this new HUD rule should not be rescinded. For more on this topic see the following from Americans for Limited Government.

ALG supports Rep. Gosar's bill rescinding HUD income and racial zoning rule
 Jan. 12, 2017, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government senior editor Robert Romano today issued the following statement supporting legislationby U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) that would rescind the Department of Housing and Urban Development regulation "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing" that conditions receipt of $3.2billion community development block grants to 1,200cities and counties on rezoning those municipalities along federal income and racial guidelines:
"Americans for Limited Government wholeheartedly endorses Rep. Gosar's legislation to fully rescind the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulations by the Department of Housing and Urban Development that conditions receipt of Community Development Block Grants on rezoning municipalities along income and racial guidelines. It is vast overreach by the federal government, imposing its will on local communities, dictating what must be built where in order to advance a radical, utopian vision of where people should live. AFFH ignores the reality of the nation's housing market, where individuals based on employment, family and other concerns determine for themselves where they would like to live, and the rule obscures the fact that real housing discrimination is already prohibited on an individual basis. Finally, the rule is not only unnecessary and overreaches in every regard, the federal government has no constitutional role in local zoning issues, which rightly belongs to the states, counties and cities.
"President-elect Donald Trump can and should start the process of rescinding the rule via the Administrative Procedures Act, but to stop it for good, Congress must prohibit this rule and anything substantially similar, with Congress asserting its Article I prerogatives. The Gosar bill meets that threshold and we hope that the administration including incoming Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson will embrace a legislative approach in addition to taking executive action to rein in this vast federal overreach."
"Local Zoning Decisions Protection Act of 2017," U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, Jan. 12, 2017 at
"Obama finalizes plan to redraw your neighborhood," By Robert Romano, July 9, 2015 at

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