Reagan Knew How to Prevent Local Government Abuse of Property Rights

A 1982 President’s Commission on Housing Report made two key recommendations that, had they been implemented, would have made significant advances in protecting citizens from abuses of their private property and other constitutional rights by local zoning officials. Legislation introduced this past session in Virginia provides a good model for finishing the job. It is the nature of government at any level to expand its power unless constrained by law, and that’s been the case with zoning and land use officials. They have become well-organized and powerful special interests in their state capitals, with intrusive control over our private property. Zoning power has made some localities act as if they were private homeowners associations, doing both picayune and largely invasive acts such as regulating the picket fences we wish to put up, requiring permits for party tents, and even engaging in unauthorized, warrantless inspections of private property. Besides...(Read Full Article)