August 18th, 2011

Zoning infringes on property rights and increases cost of education

Thomas G. Brown |

Zoning infringes on property rights and increases cost of education
Well school starts next week at Penn State and many other Universities across the nation. As students come to college towns all across America those who do not reside in campus housing will be staying in apartments and houses around the university. Sadly the cost of housing is a burden that in higher than it ought to be due to zoning which restricts where students can reside. Often they site unruly behavior by students and noise as a reason to keep them out of their neighborhoods. Below I will discuss what restrictions have done to housing prices for incoming students in the town of State College, PA the home of Penn State University.

Regulations and the harmful effects they have on everyday life. Let’s take a look at one intrusive set of regulations known as zoning ordinances that are imposed on property owners in every state in the nation by local and county governments. These regulations contribute to higher cost of housing, a reduction in small locally owned and run businesses and stores in addition to the reduction of income from properties.

I will take the example of what is going on here in State College, PA as an example. State College for those of you who are not familiar is the home of Pennsylvania State University. There are about 44,000 students attending the main campus during the school year so a majority of the population has to live off campus in apartments, townhouses, and single family dwellings that are rented to the students by their owners. This is a great for the economy of the area since there is always a demand for housing by the constant stream of students moving in and out of the area each year. This would seem to be something to embrace by the folks in State College Borough and the surround area as there would be a steady stream of rental income not to mention what they spend at the local businesses. But this would be a wrong assumption as the Borough currently restricts housing used to house students to certain areas and requiring registration of the properties used by students. Below is the requirements that must be met in order to use a property for student housing.

6) Student Home. Student Homes are permitted in all zoning districts that allow residential uses pursuant to district regulations applicable for 1- and 2-family home use. However, in the R-1, R-2, and R-3 zoning districts, student homes are permitted only when all of
the following standards are met:

(a) Occupancy in a 1-family or 2-family dwelling used as a student home shall not exceed three unrelated persons, as prescribed in Section 501.l.3.
(b) No student home shall be located on a lot any portion of which is closer to another lot used for a student home than a distance determined by multiplying 3 times the minimum lot width required for a 1-family dwelling in the district in which the student home is located.
XIX-D-R1.6 (c) No more than 1 dwelling unit in a 2-family dwelling may be used as a student home.
(d) No more than 1 building on a lot may be used as a student home.
(e) A student home shall have a minimum of 1,500 square feet of floor area per dwelling unit, exclusive of floor areas contained in basements, garages or accessory buildings.
(f) A minimum of 2 parking spaces shall be provided per dwelling unit in
driveways or off-street parking areas.
(g) No student home shall be occupied or used as such until a zoning permit and rental housing permit have been issued. Plans showing the lot’s layout, parking area, landscaping and floor area are required.i
According to an article in the Centre Daily Times only 289 units are available for students to live within the borough. Now this works out to a maximum of 867 students due to the limit of three unrelated persons being able to occupy the units used as student housing. “Currently, 289 student homes are registered in the borough, with an additional 36 possible in the one-and two-family homes where they are allowed. With a tripled buffer, only eight additional student homes could be permitted, according to information presented by zoning officer Anne Messner”ii. Anyone with commonsense can see that the three person limit would not be needed if property owners where able to rent to students without getting permission from the nanny state. The students would also benefit for lower cost of housing while attending college as an increase in available housing would drive down rent. This is but one example of what zoning will do in the name of the greater good. All the while they are infringing on the rights of property owners to do as they wish and increase the cost of housing for students who are already dealing with steep prices tied to higher education.

i http://www.statecollegepa.us/common/modules/documentcenter2/documentview.aspx?DID=200
ii http://www.centredaily.com/2011/08/17/2880593/housing-changes-sought.html

When Germany and France Both Agree on Something, You Can Safely Assume It Is a Terrible Idea

Peter Mitchell | International Liberty

I’ve joked on many occasions that bipartisanship occurs in Washington when the evil party and the stupid party come up with an idea that is simultaneously malicious and misguided.

The international version of two-wrongs-don’t-make-a-right occurs whenever the French and the Germans conspire on economic policy. The latest example is a joint proposal for “economic governance” for eurozone nations. Here are some blurbs from the BBC’s report.

The French and German leaders have called for “true economic governance” for the eurozone in response to the euro debt crisis. Speaking at a joint news conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged much closer economic and fiscal policy in the eurozone. …They also advocated a tax on financial transactions to raise more revenues.

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0% Interest Rates Lock in Inflation

USA Watchdog.com | Greg Hunter

The decision by the Fed, last week, to keep a key interest rate at near zero percent for 2 years is historic because the Fed has never done this before. This action will have profound negative effect on the U.S. dollar and its buying power. It also signals that even the Fed thinks the economy is not going to get better for at least 2 years. This action will affect every American and telegraphs a policy of inflation by the government. In November of 2009, I predicted this very path in a post called “The Fix is In.” Back then, I said, “It appears the “fix” is in as far as the road plan for the U.S. dollar and economy. The government and the Fed appear to have chosen a path of inflation for America and the world. This is not an official announced plan but it might as well be.”

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Vaccination Controversy Follows Perry on Campaign Trail

New American | Jack Kenny

Controversy over an executive order issued by Rick Perry in 2007 is following the Texas Governor on the presidential campaign trail. In New Hampshire on Saturday and in Iowa on Monday, Perry faced questions about his order to have girls entering the sixth grade in Texas vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted disease and the cause of about 70 percent of all cervical cancer, according to the federal Center for Disease Control.

Girls would be exempt from the order only if a parent or guardian signed an affidavit claiming a “conscientious objection.” The order, signed by the Governor on February 2, 2007, became the subject of sharp and widespread criticism and the Legislature promptly passed a law revoking it. According to the ABC News blog, “The Note,” Perry was asked about the controversial order during a backyard reception for the candidate at the home of state Rep. Pamela Tucker in Greenland, New Hampshire.

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Gold miner minting its own gold and silver coins – looking to pay dividends in kind!

Mineweb.com | Lawrence Williams

Junior, U.S-headquartered gold miner, Gold Resource Corporation (GRC) has entered into a position of holding some of its in-house treasury in physical gold and silver rather than cash in a move that will undoubtedly further increase its appeal to the gold-owning fraternity..

In reporting strong second quarter figures which have seen new production, revenue and dividend payout records, the company’s board has announced that it has approved the company minting approximately US$1 million worth of its own one ounce gold and silver coins

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Foodborne Illnesses in America

Global Research | Rady Ananda

A close look at the people behind the raw milk scare, and the actual numbers of foodborne illness, reveals that politics more than science drives the food safety agenda in the U.S.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack just appointed Susan Vaughn Grooters to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF), which is also served by Dr. Wafa Birbari of junk food giant, Sara Lee Corp.

Lacking a PhD, Grooters will serve her two-year term on NACMCF as a “consumer representative.” She currently works with STOP Foodborne Illness (formerly Safe Tables Our Priority), an organization that condemns raw dairy and urges broad expansion of federal control over food.

Grooters hopes to federalize state reporting of contaminated food, as explained to Center for Science in the Public Interest:

“States’ systematic differences in response to foodborne illness case reporting may also explain variations in rates,” said S.T.O.P’s public health specialist, Susan Vaughn Grooters. “Time differences in surveying cases of foodborne illness and lack of integrated data collection may also affect how well states accurately capture data.” [1]

In a playful charade calling for stricter controls on food, she recently tweeted:

“Really??? Really? I would beg to differ Sec. Vilsack! ..unless of course you’re proposing a change to policies… 😉 http://usat.ly/kceLEY”

With these opinions, it’s almost a joke to say she represents consumers.

Though the Food Safety Modernization Act is characterized as promoting “science-based” food control driven by “risk-based” analysis, [2] instead, under FSMA authority, the FDA has claimed power to seize food without evidence of contamination. [3]

Evidence is the foundation of science and law; removal and destruction of evidence is anti-science and fraudulent. (See Victor Rawls’ well-argued essay on this. [4])

Contrary to “risk-based” control, the FDA continues to seize and destroy food that sickened no one, while knowingly allowing tainted meat on the market and doing nothing about it until someone died, as in Cargill’s 36-million-pound turkey recall.

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The Death Penalty Is a Miscarriage of Justice: It Should Be Abolished

Lew Rockwell.com | John W. Whitehead

“The reality is that capital punishment in America is a lottery. It is a punishment that is shaped by the constraints of poverty, race, geography and local politics.” ~ Bryan Stevenson, death row lawyer

“Imposition of the death penalty is arbitrary and capricious. The decision of who shall live and who shall die for his crime turns less on the nature of the offense and the incorrigibility of the offender and more on inappropriate and indefensible considerations: the political and personal inclinations of prosecutors; the defendant’s wealth, race and intellect; the race and economic status of the victim; the quality of the defendant’s counsel; and the resources allocated to defense lawyers.” ~ Gerald Heaney, a former appellate judge

There is nothing moral or just about the death penalty – certainly not the way it is implemented in America, and anyone who says otherwise is either deluding themselves or trying to get elected by appearing tough on crime. Take Troy Davis, for example, a 43-year-old black man from Georgia who has spent the past 20 years of his life on death row for allegedly shooting and killing a white off-duty police officer – a crime he very well may not have committed.

According to Amnesty International, the case against Davis consisted entirely of witness testimony, which contained inconsistencies even at the time of the trial. Since then, all but two of the state’s non-police witnesses from the trial have recanted or contradicted their testimony. Many of these witnesses have stated in sworn affidavits that they were pressured or coerced by police into testifying or signing statements against Troy Davis. One of the two witnesses who has not recanted his testimony is Sylvester “Red” Coles – the principle alternative suspect, according to the defense, against whom there is new evidence implicating him as the gunman. Nine individuals have signed affidavits implicating Sylvester Coles.

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Obama’s Feared “Lone Wolf Attack” Could Save His Presidency

InfoWars.com | Paul Joseph Watson

arack Obama made headlines yesterday when he spoke about his fear of a “lone wolf attack” in America carried out by an individual with a “hateful ideology”. But far from striking a blow against his administration, such an attack would galvanize Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, as many political strategists have pointed out.

The most likely scenario that we have to guard against right now ends up being more of a lone wolf operation than a large, well coordinated terrorist attack,” Obama told CNN during a campaign stop in Iowa.

“The risk that we’re especially concerned over right now is the lone wolf terrorist, somebody with a single weapon being able to carry out wide-scale massacres of the sort we saw in Norway recently,” said Obama.

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Plan B for Obama family vacation

St. Petersburg Times | Daniel Ruth,

It’s merely idle speculation, but this is one of those moments when Barack Obama misses Rahm Emanuel, who once held the role as the first, uh, chop buster in the White House.

Imagine sitting around the Oval Office discussing presidential travel plans and someone says: “Hey, I’ve got a great idea. Let’s have the president travel to the Midwest for several days talking to people about jobs, their struggles with unemployment and basically how fouled-up everything is and then POTUS can leave for his vacation on a 28-acre compound in tony Martha’s Vineyard.”

“Why Haversham, that’s a simply bully idea. Let’s do it.”

Emanuel, the president’s former chief of staff and the master of the well-turned phrase, likely would have responded: “Are you &%$#*& people ^%$#$@!*&%$# crazy?!?!?” Or words to that effect.

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