Social Justice and Zoning
If you care about social justice, you have to care about zoning!
Do you think PWC Rural Crescent Contributes to housing segregation?
Johnathan Rak & Tracy Baynard of McGuire Woods law firm answer direct question regarding racial and economic segregation in PWC's Rural Crescent
During a 4/30/21 George Mason webinar on the history of zoning and segregation in Virginia,
the following question about
PWC's Rural Crescent was asked:
In Prince William County, an exclusionary line called the Rural Crescent was approved in 1998.
Do you think this contributes to housing segregation by segregating large parts of the county for large lots with more expensive housing and less racially segregated communities?
Mr. Rak's Response:
"Fortunately I don't work in PWC so my comments won't come back to me."
"I think quite obviously when you set off these large swaths of land area in a jurisdiction from development, although there are environmental and other values that are being addressed by that, you have to recognize the impact it has on restraining the supply of housing within that area."
Zoning can segregate racially and economically.
Elected officials must consider inclusionary zoning that requires a diversity of housing types. Policy changes are hard; we must talk about what we want to change and why.
Rak gave an example of how Loudoun County has experimented with development patterns to be more racially inclusive and combat residential segregation:
"There are potential development patterns, Loudoun did a bit of experimentation with this in the past where you can concentrate developments within some of those more rural landscapes and try to preserve some of those environmental values while still balancing with an increase in housing opportunities"
Tracy Baynard Added:
"If your Rural Crescent is one where you are trying to encourage Agri-Business you are absolutely limiting the ability of those businesses to attract and retain a workforce because they can't afford to live there. You have to go back and ask what are you actually trying to accomplish...if you are preserving all of that for a variety of reasons..all good...and one of them is to say I want to encourage agriculturally based businesses ..what are you telling someone who may want to work in that business...because they can't find a place to live because it is too expensive!"
"If you care about social justice, you have to care about zoning." NY Times 4/19/21
Restrictive markets are not open markets