Do Houston Residents Want Zoning?

With planning likely to become a major issue in next year's mayoral campaign, a recent survey shows that most residents would support new rules -- including possibly land use zoning -- to manage the region's sprawling development.

"Most Harris County residents would support zoning or other land-use planning tools to guide growth, protect neighborhoods and curb suburban sprawl, the 2008 Houston Area Survey shows.

Almost two-thirds of those responding to this year's survey thought more land-use planning would benefit Houston, three-quarters said redeveloping older urban areas was the best way to absorb population growth, and more than half said they would support zoning.

As neighborhood leaders push for stronger protections against development they consider unsuitable, political analysts and potential candidates said the survey results send a message that will resonate powerfully in the 2009 city election campaign.

"There is a clear perception that there needs to be a system to guide growth," said Stephen Klineberg, the Rice University sociology professor who has directed the annual survey since 1982 and will present this year's results to the Greater Houston Partnership on Wednesday. "There's a pretty powerful consensus there."

It's uncertain, however, whether these public attitudes will lead to new policies.

Klineberg and others cautioned that the survey gauges support only for general concepts. Details of a zoning ordinance or other planning initiatives might get a different reaction, they said."

Full Story: Guiding growth will be a key issue in '09 mayoral tilt



Michael Lewyn's picture

not likely to do much good

If I was writing the zoning code, perhaps Houston would be a more beautiful, livable city.

But I suspect that the only practical result of introducing zoning to Houston would be to place more bullets in the NIMBY lobbies' guns, thus making densities even lower and generating even more sprawl.

You are only showing your

You are only showing your complete stupidity by that remark about Houston. Yes, there are problems. What city does not have problems? Please, name one and I will hush up.

Houston has great inner city neighborhoods. The Heights, Montrose, Midtown. It is experiencing a tremendous downtown revitalization. In fact, Downtown is the place to be. I love Houston and it will always be my favorite city. I think form based zoning would work in Houston that puts more of emphasis on how structures are built than just what the use is.

I am a Houston native and will always stick up for my city no matter what others say. Why don't you go there?

Michael Lewyn's picture

Um, excuse me....

I thought I was complimenting Houston, by saying that zoned cities suffer from the same sprawl-related problems. I am aware of some of the city's efforts to promote infill- and I think a zoning code, in the wrong hands, would impede those efforts.

Cost of Living

The article doesn't address how implementation of zoning or other development codes could affect the city's relatively low cost of living.

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