Friday, April 22, 2005

Zoning Rules? Aren't those just for poor people?

Regular readers will probably have picked up on the fact that I'm not too keen on the way that real estate developers appear to be above the law when it comes to zoning. And local municipalities and the elected officials that get cash donations from the developers are ready and willing partners. To the lastest version of the same story. This time it is Schenectady:

Chris Myers," the politically connected developer", wants to build townhouse condos on land that is zoned for single family homes. He has been previously rejected by the city's zoning board. Now, he's back again, claiming he "can't find buyers" for single family homes so he needs this zoning change. So, he wants the laws to be changed so he can make more money. Here's the thing, if you can't develop land under the current zoning, sell it. We didn't make you buy that land. You bought it. It isn't our problem if you can't make money on it. When I bought all that Pets.com stock a few years ago and I lost all my money, did you hear me asking my neighbors to bail me out?

What do the people think:

"You're making a travesty of the zoning process" Linda Crandall said, urging the city to reject Myers's request for a zoning change.

And now to the sad part. It always amazes me how little money it actually takes to bribe your local officials to make them change the rules in your favor:

"In the past year, Myers' companies have begun giving campaign contributions to Schenectady Democrats, including Mayor Brian U. Stratton. The Parker Inn[owned by Myers] donated $100 to the Schenectady City Democratic Committee in the first half of last year. Stratton's campaign committee received a $1,250 donation from the Parker Inn on Nov. 28. Concord Development donated another $200 to Stratton on March 7, 2004. "