Provo’s city council recently went on a retreat to choose their top five priorities for our city over these next two years. Sadly (although not surprisingly), their final selections had little to do with defending our equal God-given rights better, but much to do with increasing their central planning of our city’s economy.
Our city council’s topmost issue is apparently zoning compliance. Zoning has become rather commonplace in America, but any practice can become popular without being right. And zoning not only violates both our property and contractual rights, but (as some hard data proves) it also curtails development, reduces competition, promotes false “order” and/or aesthetics over genuine needs, reduces housing supply while raising housing costs, excludes “undesirables,” and wastes people’s valuable time with needless paperwork. Some American cities like Houston have thrived with barely any zoning laws—but, sadly, Provo’s city officers seem determined to not only maintain present zoning laws, but also to extend those laws to include “form-based code,” which would regulate the form of buildings in addition to their function.
A second issue is housing, as our city councilors apparently intend to determine what sort of housing should be built where, and then ensure that it gets built accordingly, rather than leave this task to free people. And their remaining three top priorities include budgeting for “outcomes,” for Vision 2050, and for economic development. As for this last item, they are apparently assuming that they shouldn’t leave the economy free to grow on its own, but should actively direct that development according to their central plans—even though such planning-by-the-few is rarely as good as planning-by-the-many that naturally occurs in a genuinely-free market.
The most dangerous priority of these five is arguably the one about funding Vision 2050, which (for those who don’t already know) is an abstract vision statement that Provo’s city council has stated that it intends to gradually transform into concrete city code. Its various statist provisions include forcibly redirecting development away from the city’s outskirts into a high-density downtown core, dictating what gets built where, impeding private cars (in order to encourage public mass-transit), encouraging symbiosis between city institutions and relatively-big businesses, attracting politically-favored companies into town, subsidizing politically-favored startups, running ever-more local monopolies, regulating homebuilding along with (mandatory) residential landscaping, restricting the local supply of rental housing, redistributing city demographics as they see fit, and even overseeing our diet-and-exercise. Its predecessor, known as Vision 2030, also proposed both Internet censorship (seemingly) and our own local “Curtiscare.”
Such oligarchic trends, if allowed to continue, will inevitably run our now-thriving city economy into the ground. And this course won’t change until enough Provoans “wake up,” pay attention, and then start voting for something better. And that won’t happen unless/until we make it happen. So, let’s please work hard over these next two years to help our neighbors to prepare themselves to elect better city officers in late 2019. We invite you to please visit our Free Provo website for both ideas and resources, and we hope that you’ll encourage your fellow liberty-lovin’ Provoans to do likewise.