"Promoting housing affordability by combating exclusionary housing policies"



Roger K. Lewis, Real estate developers are merely playing by the rules, Wash. Post, August 30, 2014, p. RE-8 

Roger Lewis—a Post columnist, practicing architect and professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Maryland—notes that “only profit-motivated developers are willing and able to create most residential and commercial real estate necessary to accommodate increasing population and demographic shifts within growing metropolitan areas such as Washington.”

developers by and large do what governments permit or demand, in accord with public policy, laws and regulations. . . . Developers undertake projects only by complying with a daunting web of federal, state and local environmental regulations, zoning laws and building codes. These are operational expressions of public policy goals that we citizens and our elected political representatives, not developers, have set forth. . . .

 (Emphasis added) Lewis also notes:

If wisely governed, communities willingly revisit long-standing policies, laws and regulations that have proved deficient or flawed, especially when they have produced seriously dysfunctional physical environments requiring costly makeovers. Look no further than Tysons Corner, the poster child for the result of ill-conceived planning and zoning that seemed like a good idea at the time [a half-century ago].

(Emphasis added) Thus, ultimate responsibility for the extremely deficient residential component of Tysons Corner (more than 12 jobs for every residential unit before its recent redevelopment plan) rests with public officials who created the regulations and approved the problematic development mix. The same is true regarding Tysons Corner’s other serious dysfunctions, such as hyper-congestion, extreme dependence on the automobile, and lack of walkability. (Lewis’ article is available online at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/real-estate-developers-are-merely-playing-by-the-rules/2014/08/22/bd680a96-287b-11e4-958c-268a320a60ce_story.html.)