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The Political Economy of Downzoning

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  • Adelaja, Adesoji O.
  • Gottlieb, Paul D.
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    Abstract

    “Substantial downzoning†is defined as the exercise of police power to significantly reduce the legally permitted density on undeveloped land in a community. This contentious practice is typically challenged by those who perceive the action to limit their market opportunities (e.g., farmers and developers), their sympathizers, and others who prefer the status quo. Supporters tend to be those who perceive positive benefits (e.g., environmentalists, conservationists, and homeowners) and those who see it as a supplement to other preservation techniques, based on concerns over such things as growing public costs of land acquisition, limited effectiveness of existing alternatives, or the perceived urgency to act to manage growth. Given the complexity of the issue and the lack of previous research, this paper develops a conceptual model of the public choice to “substantially downzone†and presents specific hypotheses to be empirically tested, using New Jersey as a case study. The probability of implementing substantial downzoning is found to increase with (i) the amount of open space that remains to be protected, (ii) declining farm population, (iii) recent growth in non-farm population, (iv) recent growth in land values, and (v) the presence of alternative growth management tools. Results also suggest its use as a substitute for other preservation tools when the financial and/or political ability of communities to afford other approaches is limited. Hence, the likelihood of substantial downzoning may increase over time if alternatives become more difficult to implement.

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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/55865
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association in its journal Agricultural and Resource Economics Review.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 2 (October)
    Pages:

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    Handle: RePEc:ags:arerjl:55865

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    Web page: http://www.narea.org/
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    Related research

    Keywords: substantial downzoning; takings; land use; growth management; open space; political economy; Institutional and Behavioral Economics; Political Economy;

    References

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    1. Matthew J. Kotchen & Shawn M. Powers, 2004. "Explaining The Appearance and Success of Voter Referenda For Open-Space Conservation," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-06, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    2. Katz, Lawrence F. & Rosen, Kenneth T., 1987. "The Interjurisdictional Effects of Growth Controls on Housing Prices," Scholarly Articles 3442758, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    3. David M. Henneberry & Richard L. Barrows, 1990. "Capitalization of Exclusive Agricultural Zoning into Farmland Prices," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 66(3), pages 249-258.
    4. Henry O. Pollakowski & Susan M. Wachter, 1990. "The Effects of Land-Use Constraints on Housing Prices," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 66(3), pages 315-324.
    5. Plantinga, Andrew J. & Lubowski, Ruben N. & Stavins, Robert N., 2002. "The effects of potential land development on agricultural land prices," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 561-581, November.
    6. François Vaillancourt & Luc Monty, 1997. "The Effect of Agricultural Zoning on Land Prices, Quebec, 1975-1981," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 62(1), pages 36-42.
    7. Adelaja, Adesoji O. & Miller, Tracy & Taslim, Mohammad, 1998. "Land Values, Market Forces, And Declining Dairy Herd Size: Evidence From An Urban-Influenced Region," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 27(1), April.
    8. White, James R., 1988. "Large lot zoning and subdivision costs: A test," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 370-384, May.
    9. Jeffrey Kline & Dennis Wichelns, 1994. "Using Referendum Data to Characterize Public Support for Purchasing Development Rights to Farmland," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 70(2), pages 223-233.
    10. Wallace, Nancy E., 1988. "The market effects of zoning undeveloped land: Does zoning follow the market?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 307-326, May.
    11. Adelaja, Adesoji O. & Friedman, Keith, 1999. "Political Economy Of Right-To-Farm," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 31(03), December.
    12. Fiorenza Spalatro & Bill Provencher, 2001. "An Analysis of Minimum Frontage Zoning to Preserve Lakefront Amenities," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 77(4), pages 469-481.
    13. Pogodzinski, J. M. & Sass, Tim R., 1994. "The theory and estimation of endogenous zoning," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 601-630, October.
    14. Rolleston, Barbara Sherman, 1987. "Determinants of restrictive suburban zoning: An empirical analysis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-21, January.
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    Cited by:
    1. Gottlieb, Paul D. & O’Donnell, Anthony & Rudel, Thomas & O’Neill, Karen & McDermott, Melanie, 2012. "Determinants of local housing growth in a multi-jurisdictional region, along with a test for nonmarket zoning," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 296-309.

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