ZONING: A REPLY TO THE CRITICS

Bradley C. Karkkainen

This Article argues that, by limiting their analyses of zoning costs and benefits to monetary values, both defenders and critics of zoning have substantially missed the mark. While zoning does have effects on the market values of individual parcels, and larger-scale economic consequences as well, a complete cost accounting must also consider zoning's role in protecting crucial, non-monetary values. These include each homeowner's surplus in his or her home, as well as neighborhood residents' interest in preserving the unique set of common neighborhood resourcesūthe neighborhood commonsūupon which they rely. "Home" and "neighborhood" are central components of our identities. Because these values are notoriously impervious to objective valuation, we afford them property rule protection in the form of zoning laws. The Article concludes that zoning regulations should be flexible, changing over time, sensitive to unique neighborhood concerns and contexts, and based upon a participatory process.

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