Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Regulators

The point of this litany is to demonstrate that the Unified Government's tendency to over-regulate pretty much any issue with which it comes into contact shows no sign of abating. Without much comment on the various proposals themselves, here is a rundown of items being tossed about by the Athens-Clarke County Commission:

• Installing speed cameras in residential neighborhoods and making going 5 miles per hour over the posted speed limit a ticketable offense (sounds like a cash cow for local government to me).

• Limiting the size of medical offices on Prince Avenue to 10,000 square feet (health related business is one of the few areas that actually show promise for economic development in this town, so why preclude much needed development - because of rampant NIMBYism, that is why).

• In a couple of drought-related proposals (scroll down to Late & Loopy), one would require that gray-water recycling systems in installed in all new homes built in the county and the other would impose permanent “conservation pricing” on the users of the Unified Government’s water system (look – I’m not against saving water in a drought situation, but do we really need more government mandates that will make it more expensive to live here; this kind of stuff is why we don’t have that affordable housing everyone says that we want in the first place).

• And just for good measure, there is a call to lower the county-wide speed limit to 35 miles per hour.

The problem is not that the commissioners ask questions or reflect the concerns of their constituents. Rather, in any given situation, the Commission can be counted on to pass the most restrictive, expensive, and collectivist ordinance it can devise. Even to the point of tossing out all of the prepared options on the agenda (you know, the ones on which staff has provided briefing materials and that the Commission has discussed in previous meetings) and drafting ordinances "on the fly" in the middle of a voting session and rushing them to a vote - while fully admitting that they are vague and that the details will have to be figured out later on. And yes, it has happened..

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Illini89 said...

Couldn't agree more on the requiring grey water barrels being antithetical to affordable housing. It's such a simple point that most people seem to overlook: the more you but into your building codes and design standards, the harder you make it to build affordable housing because they determine the minimum cost of building a house.


Anonymous said...

The citizens of ACC have gotten exactly what they deserve with the current commission.

Why not make those speeding cameras spin 360 degrees so we can keep an eye out for illegal watering?

And I'd like to tell you where Andy Herod can put that grey water pipe but this is a family forum.

Jmac said...

The problem with the grey water regulation is not only the mandatory aspect of it, but that it's cost prohibitive based on state and federal regulations.

What we need is for the state to loosen regulations on grey water use and then set up a system of tax incentives for folks to install those systems in the house.

I just don't see what the local government can do to require the installation of grey water recycling systems into new construction.

I don't like the medical space restrictions either.

Lord James ... you and I aren't supposed to agree.

Anonymous said...

The grey water systems are common in California, Arizona etc. They are not that expensive (they're basically a holding tank like you have w/ your hotwater tank and some extra piping and valves) and will save the consumer $ in the long run because they (consumers) use less water --the water that goes down your drain from your bathtub is collected and used for things like flushing the toilet. They are easy to use --you don't have to think about it, you just flush as normal (ie you don;t have to put a buckt in your shower and use it to collect water to flush the toilet with).

The reason affordable housing in ACC isn't so isn't because of building regs but it's because the land is so expensive.

Anonymous said...

"The reason affordable housing in ACC isn't so isn't because of building regs but it's because the land is so expensive."

well that and the fact that you aren't allowed to use affordable materials such as vinyl siding.....and because you can't put an apartment above that detached garage to rent inexpensively to the guy who rolls your burrito down at the taco stand forcing him to sell drugs on the side for which he gets caught, goes to jail, thereby overcrowding that jail and requiring an increase in your taxes so we can build a new jail

where, i might add, vinyl siding is permitted


Xon said...

:-) Funny sob!

Xon said...

Hey, I'm sorry if I've been under a rock (and we moved out of Athens back in July, so there's that...), but did the local water authority raise its prices during the drought? I thought they kept prices per gallon the same, but simply relied on outdoor bans to try to conserve the supply. If they DID raise prices, then how much was the rise?

james said...

I'm not connected to the water system, so I don't really keep up with the rates. I do know that rates were scheduled to increase on 01 October, but that was independent of the drought.