Zoning and Density

I am not a lawyer but I am willing to bet the case to nullify MM depends 100% on the political leanings of the judge ruling on the case.

I would guess that this is also likely to be appealed all the way to the state supreme court, where the city will lose, and NIMBY supremacy will thenceforth be considered an inalienable constitutional right in this fine state of North Carolina.

Our only hope is that at least two of the Republican justices have strong libertarian leanings and will step away from towing the party line.


Property rights.

Land rights and no government involvement. This is why I’ve never understood why it’s so hard getting this stuff to pass. It should be supported by both sides.

Conservative: I can do what I want with what I own.
Liberal: Removing exclusionary zoning and promotes alternative transit options.

I’ve never really heard suggestions on how to fix the housing shortages or high cost of living from people who argue against the missing middle house plans. I’m happy the city council hasn’t repealed anything. I also hope they don’t consider repealing it without any actual plan to replace it.


Better get people in Charlotte involved. What judgement happens here affects them.


Devil’s advocate. If you currently live in a SFH neighborhood, why would they want MM? It’s not particularly in their own interest. Rising housing prices doesn’t affect them all that much because they already own. Housing shortages doesn’t affect them because they already own. Most people do things that protect their self interests. Most everyone who bought SFH wants to keep it that way. Elected officials are aware of that. They also make decisions that are likely to help them get reelected.


Increased density is valuable for homeowners, it tends to increase their property value: Homeowners should be YIMBYs - by Matthew Yglesias


My home which is located about 2 miles from downtown Cary is worth 3 times what I bought it for. There has been zero increase in density. Also it serms like you are saying increasing density causes home prices to rise. Is that a positive thing?


I’m dubious that so many people actually consciously make a calculation. We on this board probably view the relationship between density and housing prices as a more or less straightforward instance of supply and demand, but I honestly don’t think most people see the situation this way; I think they’re focused on traffic, noise, and neighborhood character and all that.

But even if everybody did make this calculation, people still are capable of supporting policies that aren’t in their best interest. People who may be quite comfortable in their SFH have kids, friends, parents, etc., who are struggling to find the housing that they need. We can and should be appealing to the desire of SFH owners to see their loved ones benefit from abundant housing. Is this gonna carry the day with every homeowner out there? No, but it would probably make some people think twice about the policies they support.


I think the main point of that article is that a SFH neighborhood zoned for only SFHs has basically peaked which most likely means you are selling the house itself, the land isn’t worth as much in the end price. True supply and demand here. Society does not benefit from the house changing hand. The owner does.

However, if your land was upzoned to allow for 4 townhomes, for example, then a buyer has more incentive to pay you a higher price because they can sell 4 units after demo and construction. Society benefits from the added units and the owner benefits more as they walked away with more money.

Or so the argument goes.


They don’t have to want MM, if they don’t want townhouses to be built there they can buy the property.


The article I linked has more details, but a relevant excerpt:

In general, developers’ ability to make a profit by buying SFHs increases the value of SFHs because it increases the value of the land that they’re parked on. But it also creates a more abundant housing supply and reduces housing costs for buyers of housing. As is often the case, allowing a freer market is simply a prosperity-increasing, positive-sum change. The current institutional framework is bad and we should change to a better one.

Also, I used to live in downtown Cary, there’s been lots of increased density.


The legal argument seems absurd on its face. Any text change is also a map change! And of course they use a procedural argument, because they know they lose on the facts.

Speaking of which, note that when arguing to conservative judges, NIMBYs say their property values will DECREASE – i.e., that this makes housing more affordable.
Meanwhile, when NIMBYs argue in front of the liberal city council, they scream about how this is all about gentrification – making housing less affordable. Schroedinger’s density!!!

There’s a small subset of libertarians who actually believe this, primarily younger ones. However, most on the right seem to be more interested in enforcing existing exclusions and power dynamics than in actual “liberty.”


Interestingly Hayes Barton where I used to live is full of very tasteful duplexes. I always thought that was nice. My house had an apartment in the basement that was rented to a NCSU grad student. I converted it to a bedroom. I know at least one person involved in the Save the Neighborhood organization has an apartment attached to the house that he rents. Also, I think people often but not always consider what happens when this huge house is passed on to their children or grandchildren. That’s most likely when a conversion would take place so you’re really leaving your children with some options. The current owners themselves could have options if they run into financial trouble but most likely won’t change anything so most properties would just stay the same.


I plan to be at this meeting to listen in. Let me know if anyone also plans to go so I can say hi. :wave:


Watching online. Very glad that the first feedback from council was CM Forte thanking the community engagement lead.


They said only 350 people shared feedback on this. I can’t stress this enough, we need to SHOW UP! The pool is so small and our voices carry a lot more weight.


is this where more HOA ‘governed’ options might come into play?

My biggest fear is that we will lose everything regarding missing middle because we are Hell bent on shoving this project down the throats of people who are VERY well funded.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not against densifying Hayes Barton. It’s just not the hill that I’m willing to die on when there is so many better opportunities to drive (pun intended) MM housing forward. I’ve said it before; it’s not even the best location in Hayes Barton for MM/densification. I’d like to see more density immediately adjacent to 5 points, and I’d LOVE to see a terrific mixed use project at the old Rex Hospital site before I’d like to see a mansion replaced with multi-million dollar townhouses in a non-walkable context.


I mean… it’s not getting “shoved down their throats.” It’s just legal as it stands and the developer would like to make money, because that’s his job.


They are perceiving it being shoved down their throats. That’s all that matters.

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I guess what I’m asking is what change you would make to avoid that perception?

Making Hayes-Barton a more tightly protected historic district, even if it’s basically a giveaway to powerful wealthy interests? I don’t hate it, I think it’s pretty, but the way we’d have gotten there doesn’t exactly feel the most ethical.