Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cavalcade of Capitalists: She Only Wants Zoning When It Benefits Her

Here is one for all those value-added zealots in the real estate industry who naively and blissfully believe we can just turn every thing over to the market based on the dogma that it cures all ills without any need for regulations or zoning measures.

The Nashville Scene's Bruce Barry refers us to the real estate broker, Barbara Browning (Browning, Inc, Broker), who opposed the height restriction bill passed at last night's council meeting. She told the Tennessean that only people who live in "little cottages" oppose giving rich people a free hand to build 60-70 foot home towers that blot out other people's sun in smaller scale neighborhoods.

Bruce bequeaths a gem that has to be our quote of the week:

Browning, one assumes, opposes all zoning laws. Browning, one hopes, will find the owner of the lot next door to hers seeking a variance to build a convenience store, or maybe an adult bookstore. Browning, one eagerly anticipates, will appear cheerfully on that owner’s behalf down at the Metro Planning Commission.
Unless Barbara Browning ( was misquoted in the Tennessean, she seems to be one of the most unneighborly Realtors I have seen around town relative to the scores of us cottage-bound peons at her feet.


  1. People who understand the market mechanism also understand market failure. In the presence of market failure regulation does increase efficiency. In this case, one's planned high rise digs that would block out the sun or view of the neighbors would be a spillover, a negative externality. It would impose costs on others without giving compensation. Some regulation, as in this case, is consistent with ethusiasm for the market mechanism.

  2. Is this really an issue? Are there developers just waiting to build thousands of really tall units?

    It appears more like election year grandstanding by David Briley to win the "neighborhood" groups.

    If he really wanted to protect neighborhoods, why not extend the overlays to insist that faux period houses be built with materials consistent with other houses in the area, rather than subbing hardiplank for wood siding?