The hue and cry went up all over the USA about the violation of citizen's property rights. In the previous post, Marc Scribner wrote about this event. A city in Conneticut had just taken property from American citizens by eliminating the Constitutional protections of the "Takings Clause."
Scribner writes: ." This ruling, many scholars fear, has essentially rendered the Takings Clause meaningless in terms of its ability to actually protect individual property owners from unnecessary and unjust seizures. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor went as far to write in her dissent that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision was "to wash out any distinction between private and public use of property—and thereby to effectively delete the words 'for public use' from the Takings Clause."
Of course, this ruling opened the flood gates of other government infringements of individual property rights. One of those "blossoming" endeavors was referred to as "Form Based Codes." Form Based Codes are pretty much the child of something called New Urbanism. What is New Urbanism? Click on the link below for the principles of New Urbanism.
Please note......nearly all the principles are based on opinion.......not facts. Many are blatantly opinionated. You will find a perfect platform for Form Base Codes in the principles of New Urbanism. In fact, Form Base Code is the child of New Urbanism.
Now, let me be clear. I am not against New Urbanism and Form Base Codes. In fact, I am a supporter, when applied judiciously and appropriately.
There are places for both. New Urbanism began as a series of studies to more efficiently and effectively redesign urban areas that had fallen into decay. Many intercity areas of most large American cities had their depressed areas and moves were afoot to make them much more livable, safer, and comfortable. Some excellent thoughts and ideas came out of these studies. Some of these ideas are at work today and some excellent urban renewal projects are benefiting from this early work.
But, alas, the government found a new way to interfere. Private enterprise came up with New Urbanism and Form Base Codes.....and government said, "Wow!! Look what we can do!!" Enter the government and their penchant for screwing up a good thing.
Now, instead of using the principles of New Urbanism and Form Base Codes for declining urban areas, government is deciding we ought to use them for cow pastures. One of the principles listed on the above link is the principle of achieving higher density of living units from the land. Smaller lots mathematically gets, say 6 units per acre instead of three. Therefore FBC almost always has smaller lots. Everybody jumps for joy at the higher density and presumably more tax revenue. Oops!!! Form Base Codes also requires larger park space. So, by the time the developer complies with the park space under FBC, the density is the same per acre as the typical subdivision.
All looks good to a citizen that likes urban living, but what about kids wanting a larger yard to play, say bad mitton. Well, there's a park a block away. Also, a senior citizen with back problems can't get to any substantial land without a motorized vehicle. So, now you have developed a perfectly good cow pasture into a development that is ill suited to bad mitten and senior citizens with back problems.
Once the government gets the bit in their mouth, they absolutely take control with a minimum of reflection. Their attitude seems to be if two aspirin tablets cure a headache, just think what 100 will do........probably cure cancer. So, do you now have an image of Rowlett's "officialdom" running up and down the halls of City Hall with the Form Base Codes clutched in their hands saying, "The world is perfect!! The world is perfect!!" It has happened. Form Base Codes are as good as the people administering it. Nothing more.
People, people, people.........once again, one size doesn't fit all. I will support anybody, ANYBODY, in "officialdom" that puts their head in gear before they put their mouth in gear.