Comment 41569

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted June 04, 2010 at 13:46:40

Anarchy is exactly what I'm proposing:)

And as I've said, I'm all in favour of giving neighbours a fair say in what goes on in their community. Nor am I opposed to laws, with community consent, which set blanket regulations on specifically noxious EFFECTS (noise, pollution, safety etc). I just don't see blanket regulations on land use, necessary parking spaces or required setbacks to be an effective way to achieve either of those goals, especially since they impose significant costs and hassles upon the most important drivers of community diversity. A prime example of this would be that other Locke St patio/bar expansion issue: the West Town. Their main problem was parking requirements in zoning laws, which mandated more spaces than their expansion would allow. Now, given that I have a bunch of close friends and family who live within a block or two of the West Town, I understand the concerns about noise from the constant roar of cougars, bikers and hipsters. But preventing the most successful eating/drinking/music establishment in Hamilton's most successful walkable-scale mixed-use street from expanding because it wouldn't have enough parking? Who's writing these laws, Robert Moses?

And yes, I'm well aware that many of my neighbours are assholes. Hence all the shouting I just heard from next door. And one of the many failings of democracy is that it grants influence to assholes. As far as I've seen, though, every system which restricts democracy in the name of power ("enlightened" or otherwise) ends up run almost exclusively by assholes.

I'm not seeking to stop my neighbours from whatever noxious backyard pleasures they might have, be they a firepit, chickens or even two-stroke motorized lawn care. I'm seeking to find a way that hasn't proven again and again to cater willingly to those with enormous amounts of money and power who wish to install large-scale noxious installations. Zoning laws have not stopped companies like Rio-Can or Smart-Centres from building giant strip malls. I even know a prominent Hamilton development lawyer who has his main office in a secret location zoned only for residential use, yet regularly corresponds with city hall. Zoning laws do, though, prevent homeowners from converting their own hoses into shops, offices and galleries like those in Uptown Waterloo, which would do far more to preserve the area's "character" and direct the benefits of economic development to those who need it most.

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