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'Caps Set Wrong City Limits'

October 20, 1987

This article adds precious little to enlightened thought and debate regarding the use of development permit allotments as a municipal growth management tool. One might expect more from two university professors; perhaps they are merely attempting to discredit recent efforts to control Southern California's urban explosion before it destroys what remains of the area's livability.

"Pricing strategies" are inferred to be superior, but the authors offer no support evidence or rationale. Actually, such methods would directly cause the same negative economic effects as are alleged to result from development limits (e.g., higher housing costs, falling disproportionately upon renters and new homeowners). Also, "pricing strategies" would suffer from the same subregional myopia as the authors lament for permit limits by individual cities.

A more reasonable treatise on this subject would recognize that steps to control emerging urban problems through growth limits are a logical reaction to many years of a real estate development economy out of control, aided and abetted by local politicians and "planners" who won't recognize that there are very real, physical limits to any given area's urban development.

Permit allocations, unlike "pricing strategies," also can provide that new development meet broad community goals, by giving preferential treatment to projects which provide benefits such as affordable housing, mixed uses, transit access, etc. In this way, local agencies can improve the community's quality of new development while reducing the total amount of new development over any given time period.

GREGORY MOHR

Santa Barbara

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