Effectively fighting rezoning and having good zoning in place are ensuring that ideas that serve the citizenry and not special interests define the discussions and govern what is in place and can be put in place. This continuing process begins before a rezoning application comes on the scene and continues after the rezoning application has run its course. There is no magical bullet here to magically solve today the zoning quagmire in which you find yourself. What are here are ideas that will solve systemic zoning problems and enhance the value of your property and daily quality of life. Knowing these ideas can help in today’s zoning controversy, but long-term success rests in understanding and making these ideas an essential part of dialog in your area.
Zoning is a business document pertaining to a real estate investment and is an essential element in investing. People understand innately that zoning laws should serve the citizenry and not special interests and want zoning laws to serve the citizenry and not special interests. People also understand that today that is not the case.
Saying it like a Dutch uncle, people spend time and money on homeowners insurance, security systems, kitchens, decorating, and…. When it comes to what their property and neighborhood properties can and cannot be used for, that is not the case. Real estate is an investment and a daily quality of life concern, and it behooves people to do things to protect and enhance their investment and daily quality of life.
In 1990 Frank Corey had a conversation with a woman from another Chicago suburb. He related what happened in his Chicago suburb the year before—a rezoning for a mega-bar that the neighborhood was vehemently against. She said that she and her neighbors had formed a homeowners’ association because they did not want the politicians making zoning changes in their area. They bought their properties because the zoning was a certain way and wanted the zoning to stay the way it was. The numbers in the homeowners association work to exert political pressure on the elected officials to not change the zoning. (“If you vote for this zoning change, none of us will vote for you.”) She went on to say that so far they have been successful, but there is no guarantee that they will be successful in the future.
In 2015 another woman from the same suburb brought Americans and Their Homes First from this website because there were multiple requests for zoning variations that she and her neighbors did not want, and they were of a mind to hopefully stop the variations from becoming part of the zoning ordinance. Of course there are requests for multiple zoning changes. The structure is in place that enables it, so it will happen. And zoning changes will be made that area property owners do not want.
Property owners’ associations are a good thing. Exerting political pressure on elected officials does help at times. Other times it does not. Ideas matter. There is a world of difference between articulating and pursuing ideas that can only have a good result than walking into the zoning hearing saying “say like I am against this,” and someone else walking into the zoning hearing saying “say like I am for this,” and elected officials doing what they have a mind to do, which is often to the detriment of individual property owners and the general area.
Frank Corey opposed a rezoning to turn a regular business property into a mega-bar. What he did was develop arguments (a case) that proved that the property could not be rezoned for this mega-bar. What he did was not done before and is not done today. The arguments were never refuted—they were just ignored and the rezoning rammed through. Normally in any rezoning there is something for the politicians to “hang their hats on,” but such was not the case here. The politicians rezoned and the money was not available to pursue in court.
What happened here showcases two problems in zoning today. The first is that the structure in place enables situations to happen or continue in place that do not serve the citizenry. The second is that the politicians and government employees function with impunity—they do what they have a mind to do and walk.
Elected officials think and operate under the idea that because they are elected, it is their prerogative to do virtually anything they want in zoning. That idea has to be taken out and replaced with there are systemic ideas governing this rezoning petition, and these systemic ideas apply, and it is the responsibility of elected officials to apply these systemic ideas. We call this governance—there are systemic ideas and these systemic ideas always apply. The animation THE TIMELESS AND UNIVERSAL DEFINITION OF GOVERNMENT (1:56) explains governance.
Another problem for property owners is a litany of egregious court decisions over decades. Court decisions are often the handiwork of the stupidity of individual judges and/or judicial activism by individual judges. To undo egregious court decisions is an expensive and time-consuming and difficult legal process, so the effect is the egregious decisions stand. Stupidity of individual judges and judicial activism by individual judges operate in the highest courts in the land, and there has been no action to rectify this systemic problem either to the individual practitioners or the egregious decisions rendered. It’s a point that you should understand when addressing a court decision that is thrust in your face that is just plain judge stupidity and/or judicial activism. Also money often writes court decisions, that is, there is money to pursue matters through court cases and get favorable rulings that then become part of the body of zoning laws. View the satirical animation on the legal system HIRED GUN ACADEMY (5:17).
The average person understands innately what government is and must do, and what zoning is and how zoning should work. Ideas matter. Ideas on government and zoning are expressed in abstractions; people think and learn in terms of concrete situations. Hence the average person is not able to deliver a narrative to express what he/she knows innately. People need concrete real examples in areas they are familiar with to get a grasp on ideas that benefit them. People need a listing of ideas they can use, and these ideas are explained simply. We provide concrete real examples and explain ideas simply.
We explain zoning and government in rezoning for a mega-bar and looking at old downtown areas in small towns that are now part of suburbia as shopping malls. This is done through the book Americans and Their Homes First and its addendum. The book tells a true story about a rezoning for a mega-bar that the neighborhood did not want. This true story is an “Upton Sinclair expose'” of the workings of zoning in America. The book has exceptional fact situations that make essential points that benefit the average property owner. A work of fiction could not do what this book does. The book and its addendum posit and explain ideas that benefit the citizenry and not special interests.