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ATLBrain

Conservation Overlays

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As I try to educate myself on things like conservation overlays, I've noticed that they've been met with mixed emotions. I can understand a property owner in an area not wanting additional restrictions on the ways his property is/may be developed.

"Thumbing" through the online Tennessean, I find this article in which one area has seen some positive results from the overlay. Does anybody here have any strong feelings pro/con on C-Os?

http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar...4/1197/COUNTY01

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A friend of mine lives over in Sylvan Park/Sylvan Heights and recently gave me her perspective on opposing conservation overlays over there. If I understand correctly, a big part of her beef was that that overlay would have taken some decisions away from the neighborhood association itself because it would have made some things subject to federal guidelines, even though the neighborhood would not have received federal funding or tax incentives. My friend has a 1920s craftsman bungalow and is a big supperter of preserving the eclectic, pre-war neighborhood feel. But still, adding a dormer was a no-no, regardless of whether or not the design would have been in keeping with neighborhood and period housing styles. Also, all home expansions or enclosures would have to be in the rear, which could lead to a shotgun style layout that is not always desirable. For example, why is it ok to put a tacky expansion in the back without regard for design whereas a tastefully done expansion in the front (even building out the attic) is disallowed without exception. These were some of her issues.

On the other hand, I bought a house in Eastwood Neighbors and the folks over there seem to like the conservation overlay and are talking about trying to expand it. My personal inclination is to support it near where my property is located. Property values are definitely skyrocketing over there, and most new construction is tastefully done anyway.

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I am always pro-property rights. My personal opinion is that we should return to a system where you have to be a property owner to vote (not just a white male; my wife and I are both title holders on our home so we should both have the right to vote; I would even say condo owners have a right to vote). I believe 'vote-buying' is destroying this country, and that's just my theory to solve it because most laws primarily effect property owners. Just my personal opinion, but that gives you an idea of how strongly I stand on property rights.

As far as conservation overlays, I don't think they should be imposed on current property owners. For example, if today they said you couldn't change any structure in edgeville, that should only apply to those who buy starting tomorrow. If I buy property with a certain 'understanding of the rules,' and someone changes the rules (ie, telling me I can't add a dormer window), I can't pick up my lot and move! I think you can set design guidlines, but I don't think it's fair to set a rul that says something like you can't change the front!

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I am always pro-property rights. My personal opinion is that we should return to a system where you have to be a property owner to vote (not just a white male; my wife and I are both title holders on our home so we should both have the right to vote; I would even say condo owners have a right to vote). I believe 'vote-buying' is destroying this country, and that's just my theory to solve it because most laws primarily effect property owners. Just my personal opinion, but that gives you an idea of how strongly I stand on property rights.

Wow. So we just disenfranchise all of those who do not have enough money to buy property? A renter couldn't vote but their landlord could, even though it is well known that the landlord passes along his tax expenses to the renter as part of the rent. Also, even though the sales tax constitutes the largest chunk of the state tax burden in Tennessee, we would not allow renters who pay that tax to vote? How about the fact that they pay federal income taxes regardless of whether or not they own property? Would we just let them vote in state and federal elections, but not local. How about we proportion their federal vote based on their income, since if you have more money, you pay more taxes, and thus should have a bigger say in what is done with that money? (edit: sarcasm alert added for clarification). Have I gone through the looking glass?

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That is another great idea, having it where you get 'x' number of votes based on your tax bracket (ie, those who pay no federal taxes get one vote, whereas those in the top tax bracket get 6 votes). That would be more fair than the current system, but awfully difficult to track.

This is the problem that has paluaged our country from the start. That's why we have a house and a senate (The House represents the people; The Senate originally represented the states but now we have Seantors representing the people too, so it's all screwed up). If we dont reform either the tax code or the voting method, we will eventually end up with a system where politicians can buy 51% of the votes by having 49% carry the full tax burden, and that will lead to socialism.

This still ties somewhat into conservation overlays, right?

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"Thumbing" through the online Tennessean, I find this article in which one area has seen some positive results from the overlay. Does anybody here have any strong feelings pro/con on C-Os?

http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar...4/1197/COUNTY01

I think conservation overlays can be great in the right neighborhood. For several years I lived in Richland-West End, which has had historic conservation zoning for many years. Anyone who believes that overlays automatically have a negative effect on property values should look at what has happened in Richland over the years! Conservation overlays can help stabilize neighborhoods which are deteriorating and experiencing infill development that is not only architecturally unattractive, but often undesirable for other reasons as well.

All that being said, conservation zoning doesn't work everywhere. And if a majority of homeowners are opposed (as in Sylvan Park and Whitland), I guess it shouldn't be imposed. I think they are making a mistake in both neighborhoods, but I don't live there.

P.S. Limiting the franchise to property owners would be unconstitutional under current law. And also somewhat ironic in Tennessee, since consumers--not property owners--are financing most of our state government.

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If we dont reform either the tax code or the voting method, we will eventually end up with a system where politicians can buy 51% of the votes by having 49% carry the full tax burden, and that will lead to socialism.

The present system has led to more and more of the tax burden shifting to the bottom 80% from the top 20% with more wealth concentrated in the upper 1%, with the debt for those policies to be repaid by future generations. Yet the bottom 80% for whatever reasons continually vote for politicians who embrace those policies. So, I wouldn't worry too much about socialism.

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