Building Pipeline

May I suggest a follow-up article on Bill Varian’s “building pipeline” piece? Start by quantifying, especially in Hillsborough County, just how many homes and square feet of commercial space property owners are already entitled to build without any zoning changes? Include research on the resultant social and economic impacts the additional roads, water, sewer, schools, fire protection and law enforcement resources would have on the community in order to support all that new development, especially how this infrastructure would be paid for; whether from permit/impact fees or property taxes.


Ask someone old enough to recall what it was like in Florida before zoning laws; when anyone could build anything anywhere. Remember what happened to the property value of the baker when his neighbor built a smelly rendering plant next door? Zoning laws were enacted for the common good. Changes to zoning must necessarily also benefit the common good; otherwise you wind up again with the tyranny of the few over the welfare of the many.


All property, whether bought or inherited comes with existing zoning restrictions. Property rights allow building within those zoning restrictions subject to permitting regulations.  Contrary to popular misconception, there is no inherent property right entitling an owner any change in zoning to a piece of property. That is why we have zoning hearings so that the public good, of the entire tax-paying community can be considered.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen


2 Responses to “Building Pipeline”

  1. Well said, Fred. There are no absolute property rights, nor should there be.

    And uncontrolled growth does not pay for itself in any way. In fact, we all wind up paying for it in many ways. What we lose (rural areas, agriculture, natural habitat, beauty of open spaces) and what we have to pay (increased taxes for infrastructure, skewed property values – whether too much or too little – traffic jams, general ugliness etc.)

  2. Great response, Fred. As I was reading this on my way out today out I was screaming the very things you have brought up. Sadly, I have been around long enough to remember the lack of zoning laws and yet, we are still dealing with transgressions of the past. I do believe Bill lost a great opportunity to remind folks that we have plenty of rezoning properties that remain unbuilt to last probably the rest of my lifetime. It also demonstrates that our leadership approved rezoning after rezoning without taking into consideration the “need”. Some developers would have us believe that we have reaped a benefit from the premature rezonigs by way of taxes. Nothing could be further from the truth since a large majority have those very same properties they rezoned for more intensive uses skirting property taxes by way of the greenbelt.

    You hit the nail right on the head when you reminded folks it isn’t about property rights. If I hear Jim Norman or any other Commissioner tell us it’s about property rights I will scream. Property rights don’t mean you can have anything you want whenever you want it.

    Good Job, Fred!!

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