This is an important question since structures built under the auspices of an old zoning code that are now excluded from the current zoning code are at odds with the updated vision for the community. This may not be a big deal when, say, a house is constructed a year after an area is rezoned for commercial use. However, it becomes increasingly problematic when that house is now a power plant and the one year has increased to ten. This ability to develop based on a 10 year old zoning code creates uncertainty for potential residents and developers who may find the nonconforming development to be an undesirable neighbor.
Why not address the fundamental problem of partisan legislators carefully crafting the words to be purposefully misleading or confusing? Several states have attempted to correct this problem by providing voter guides to every resident. These guides supply explanatory statements of the ballot measures and arguments from both sides. In Georgia, after the legislature approves the wording of the ballot measure there is no effort taken by the government to make sure people know the purpose or objective of the measure. Voters must seek out information from other sources. While there isn’t anything wrong with asking voters to educate themselves, it can be time consuming if the ballot is filled with several referenda and if some of those referenda receive very little attention from the media.
While building large infrastructure projects is needed, the enforcement of basic traffic laws is an essential, and often overlooked, element of good transportation networks.
A reliable and predictable source of drinking water is a major problem for metro Atlanta. So much so that we’ve engaged in a costly 20-plus year legal battle with states that, on paper, we should get along with swimmingly. And now, like bickering school-aged siblings, we’re pleading to our neutral third-party parents to settle the dispute. And like parents of bickering school-aged siblings, the United States Supreme Court will likely create an inadequate resolution for all parties.
Mosques are all the rage right now down in Newton County, Georgia. In order to prevent the county from being overrun by mosques the Newton County Board of Commissioners placed a moratorium on the construction of all new places of worship. They had no choice; without a moratorium the county faced the risk of being consumed by mosques. Not really, though. What’s actually happening is that one organization purchased a piece of land in Newton County with the intention of building a mosque and, in response, the county issued a temporary moratorium on the construction of all new places of worship.
Removing zoning to a larger regional authority would undoubtedly be met with fierce political opposition, though it’s likely just what the doctor ordered for many metro areas to grow in more organized and reasonable manners. Making counties and cities compete among each other when we all freely travel between jurisdictions on a daily basis makes little sense. The bureaucratic inconsistencies and infrastructural headaches that ensue degrade our comprehensive regional planning efforts while cultivating a fractured political atmosphere and an overall distrust of one another.
It’s clear that many incidents of rape aren’t reported to the police. We know that. UGA’s 2014 policy attempted to correct this by reporting on information provided by agencies that help victims. Since many victims are less inclined to report sexual assaults to the police, but more inclined to report those assaults to agencies and organizations that provide aid, it seemed like a good policy. Unfortunately, if everyone else doesn’t also adopt this policy, it makes UGA look pretty bad comparatively. The school’s experiment in trying to report more accurate numbers revealed a truth it doesn’t want to publicly acknowledge when other schools don’t also have to publicly acknowledge that same truth.
Dictating what people can and can’t do with their property is perhaps one of the most controversial forms of regulation, particularly at the local level. Most generally agree that factories should not be located next to schools, but once we go beyond the more obvious incompatible uses the topic can become quite heated. Throw in the touchy subject of adult entertainment and the debate escalates to new levels.
Ridesharing also fills a significant void in late-night transportation options. In most major cities, transit is either non-existent or very limited between 10pm and 4am. Research done by the American Public Transportation Association shows that ridesourcing now accounts for a signficant share of late night/early morning alternative transportation. So perhaps ridesharing alleviates the burden on local governments of needing to provide more late-night transit options. But is that a good thing?
Density doesn’t have to be a bad word. Allowing more people to live in strategic and desirable areas in closer proximity to one another doesn’t necessarily mean turning all parts of the region into Manhattan. While we aren’t talking about San Francisco or New York levels of density, we are talking about raising the density levels in certain parts of the region to something a little less Mayberry and a little more DC or Seattle.