The Planning Board of Belfast, Maine has approved the conversion of The Pines Apartments to condominiums.
This is a hard story for several reasons. There is no doubt that most of the residents of the Pines will need to move somewhere else, and that their new abodes will likely be more expensive, if they choose to stay in Belfast. I am a personal acquaintance of some of the residents, and a coworker of one of them, and I don't envy what they'll have to do in the coming months.
There is also an excellent post by a Pines resident, Scot Cunningham, over at his blog.
The most painful irony that I see thru my left-libertarian blinders is that the residents tried to appeal to the body whose very existence has done more to eliminate affordable housing in Belfast than almost any other body. Zoning ordinances and comprehensive plans restrict the number of properties available in general for any purpose. When there is a restriction on supply, prices go up. It's that simple. The folks with less money get squeezed out.
Getting rid of the planning board, zoning and most other municipal regulations would help lower-income residents. And those same residents largely believe that big government is there to help them. That is the greatest obstacle that we left-libertarians, and libertarians in general, must overcome. Things won't get better till the folks who have the most to gain from radically reducing the influence of government in our lives can be freed from the illusion that government is in their corner.
Linking to: Free Constitution
Tagged as: Belfast Maine condominiums central planning planning boards zoning regulations low income housing