King County, in which the city of Seattle is located, has had a growth boundary in place for about 10 years. Land outside this boundary cannot be subdivided for housing. As the city's population has increased, the amount of land available upon which to build has dwindled, and homes have become very expensive. Bruce Ramsey, editorial columnist for the Seattle Times, discusses this anti-populist populist measure, and its unintended consequences, in this column. A telling statistic:
A typical single-family lot — 6,000 square feet, flat, no view — costs $140,000 or $150,000 in King County.
This is Seattle, mind you, not New York or San Francisco. Eventually, when it becomes impossible for the average worker in Seattle to ever hope of owning a home, perhaps the policy will be rethought. On the other hand, slow-growth ordinances only pass in one-party People's Republics, and I've never heard of one being repealed (if you read this and know of one, please let me know), so it appears that housing will continue going up in neighboring counties, increasing commute times (and incidentally increasing pollution, since the transit systems don't do a lot of linking from county to county, decreasing the attractiveness of mass transit).
posted on June 06, 2002 08:55 PM
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