Are Libertarians Socially Conservative on Land Use?

Bill Fulton thinks so, calling them to task for speaking out against density in Orange County when, he says, the market demand is evident.
October 19, 2008, 1pm PDT | Tim Halbur
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"Left to its own devices, the market would probably produce more high-density housing, because a significant portion of the market either does not want or cannot afford a traditional suburban lifestyle. Meanwhile, local government regulation – zoning -- often interferes with the market by ensuring low-density development in many areas where higher-density housing would succeed in the marketplace. This is especially true in affluent conservative suburbs, where homeowners use regulation ferociously to protect their turf. In recent years, two Orange County cities -- Mission Viejo and San Juan Capistrano -- have blocked higher-density housing proposals because of public opposition. This is part of the reason SB 375 is necessary.

But this is an inconvenient truth for the [Orang County] Register and the rest of the libertarian-leaning anti-anti-sprawl crowd. It seems to me that these folks – including such pundits as Randall O'Toole and sometimes even Sam Staley, who I've worked with and like – are so tied to conservative social values that they can't tell the difference between what people want and what they should want. In fact, however, conservative social values and the free market sometimes part."

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Published on Thursday, October 16, 2008 in California Planning & Development Report
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