The Disparate Impact of the County’s Land-Use Planning

Thor's Assistant Rostra Administrator (Thor's Assistant)


A letter from former San Diego City Councilman Fred Schnaubelt to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors…


FYI: In case you’re unaware of what you planning department is doing to the county.

2012 November Newsletter
Citizens for Private Property Rights

The Disparate Impact of the County’s Land-Use Planning

The San Diego County Planning Department (9/26/12) certified the San Dieguito part of its Jihad against single family detached homes in the unincorporated area.  The Jihad goes under the names General Plan Update, GP 2020, or Smart Growth, etc. all of which are forms of “Exclusionary Zoning” on steroids. By requiring more 8, 20, 40 and 80 acre parcels with lower housing densities, the county is nonchalantly doing what the Supreme Court overturned in its Mt. Laurel decision:

N.J. Supreme Court should revive Mount Laurel decision

According to SANDAG (April 1991 INFO) the Region’s Black population in the unincorporated area grew 63.2% between 1980 and 1990.  Between 1990 and 1998 it remained at 4% of the total area population (INFO April 1999).

In 1997, the county’s Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) targeted 170,000 acres deemed to be off limits to further housing development.  Subsequently, the U.S. Census reports that between 2000 and 2010 the Black population declined in both the City of San Diego and the County as “Smart Growth” policies have increasingly been implemented. This was easily predictable.

Smart Growth through controls, regulations, impact fees, and zoning intentionally reduce the supply of housing, particularly in the suburbs and rural areas.  These make housing more expensive.  When housing prices rise minorities are increasingly denied the opportunity to realize the American Dream of home ownership with its increased wealth effect (freedom of choice, quality of life, and property rights).

To camouflage the effect, assuage their guilt and divert attention, various jurisdictions also implement so-called “Inclusionary Zoning.”  They also undertake “showcase” token low-income housing projects so expensive only the poor can afford to live in them (with government-taxpayer co-pays).  Cleverly, planners and politicians in demanding a certain number of homes be “affordable,” know this raises the cost of all housing meaning all housing is affordable to even fewer people, especially low-income families and minorities.

Professor Thomas Sowell writing about Race and Rhetoric (3/20/12) points out that in San Francisco despite the rhetoric there are less than half as many Blacks living in San Francisco today as there were in 1970. “Political rhetoric is intended to do one thing – Win votes.”  Whether the policies outlined in the rhetoric help or hurt people — to politicians and planners — is beside the point:

Sowell further points out, San Francisco isn’t unique.  “No city is more liberal in its rhetoric and policies than San Francisco…  [However] there are a number of very liberal California counties which saw their black populations drop by 10,000 people or more between the 1990 and 2000 censuses — even when total populations were growing.”

Smart Growth with “Inclusionary Zoning” makes housing less affordable is born out in multiple studies cited by Professors William Fishel, Robert Ellickson, Joseph Gyourko and Bernard Siegan.  Nevertheless, it has, as T.S Elliot noted, enabled politicians, planners, and environmental busybodies “to think well of themselves.”

Given that Blacks are underrepresented in the unincorporated area relative to their numbers in the general population according to the U.S. Justice Department’s disparity of outcomes policy this would be prima facie evidence of racism. But is it?

It could be contended that the policies of the County Planning Department are unintentionally racist.  However, if I step out onto the street and get run over by a truck it makes no difference if the driver crushes the life out of me intentionally or not. The result is the same.

Fred Schnaubelt, President
Citizens for Private Property Rights
San Diego, CA