Comment 41505

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted June 02, 2010 at 21:17:40

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with having building safety codes (though there's clearly lots wrong with ours) or restrictions on toxic industries - whether or not they're in populated areas.

However, zoning laws are not building safety codes or limits on industrial toxins. They're neighbourhood design codes which limit what basic uses are allowed, irrespective of the actual details. Both slaughtering animals and tanning leathers can be done quite safely in your back yard or garage - in fact, usually much more safely than one would find in big industry, since much cleaner methods such as vegetable-tanning are much more suited to that scale than large industrial chrome-tanning processes. And as for added residential space being bad, what exactly about it is so threatening? That it might, at little to no public effort or cost add significant amounts of density to neighbourhoods without any significant new building? Or that they allow individual families and homeowners to gain rental income, rather than property management corporations or absentee slumlords from Toronto?

And as someone who rents housing in Hamilton, I can attest to the piss-poor construction work in many area homes. But Zoning laws aren't doing anything about that, and having been involved in a number of absolutely stupid rental disputes (apparantly providing functioning toilets and plumbing within a unit is NOT a legal requirement of landlords...), it's clear that our legal apparatus is amazingly unsuited to these situations. If we're not willing to inspect work done, or punish people for doing it badly (especially people who then sell or rent the housing to others), then why bother checking plans at all?

And I'm far from the only one who thinks zoning laws are a bad idea. Here's a paper from UBC which references Jane Jacobs and her feelings on the issue... "Poorly thought out and sad commentary"? Hardly. Try a 10 second google search next time, that's all this took ("jane jacobs zoning laws", first result)

http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/law/lwsch/j...

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