“Finally, please settle this blasted thing. I can guarantee at least one of you will be unhappy with my recommendation and, perhaps, both of you. You can’t both be winners. But you […]
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.
It is downright violent and reckless for a driver to narrowly miss a pedestrian in a crosswalk. But this behavior has been normalized over the years because we fail to enforce the law; perhaps police don’t have the time or they don’t have the interest. Alternatively, we don’t provide enough education to inform drivers and pedestrians of their legal rights and duties. How can we expect people to feel comfortable walking around neighborhoods when the very laws protecting them are ignored or dismissed?
The case lets surface the fundamental problems we have in addressing quality housing for all people. At a time when affordable housing shortages are increasingly widespread, the Georgia Supreme Court’s decision should prompt us to address a past wrong. We can start by encouraging the private development of affordable housing in the same we encourage the private development of other important land uses, like conservation and agriculture.
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.
We’ll likely see an increase in the number of poorer suburban communities. While Cobb and North Fulton will still have enclaves of wealthier residents, they will increasingly become the destination of lower-income individuals when they are priced out of the walkable Atlanta area. While quality-of-life is an issue even for wealthier residents in auto-centric communities, it is much more of a problem for their poorer residents. Try getting to the grocery store or your job when you don’t have a car and your community doesn’t support sidewalks or alternative transportation. While sitting in traffic on the way to work is stressful, having no transportation options to safely get to that place of work is arguably more stressful.
Chattanooga, TN is currently debating whether to continue the use of a particular advanced line of streetlights that offer the potential for implementing several exciting and useful features. The LED streetlights are more energy efficient and save the city money, and they can also be wirelessly controlled to dim, become brighter, or even flash depending on the needs of the city and the police. In addition, the streetlights may soon have the ability to do something much more controversial: detect meth lab emissions…
…Yet, under the guise of “cracking down on crime,” are we not creating a precedent for increasing the widespread invasion of public privacy? Couldn’t this lead to police gaining the ability to question hundreds of people or search entire blocks of houses if a streetlight detects meth?
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.