Deed Restrictions

Two of the stated purposes of zoning are preventing “incompatible” land use and protecting neighborhoods. Both of these issues can be addressed without the coercive means of zoning. Deed restrictions (or covenants) provide the means to limit land uses through voluntary, contractual means—by respecting property rights.

Deed restrictions attach to the deed for a parcel […]

You Can’t Please Everyone

Almost without fail, any article or discussion that in any way pertains to land use in Houston inevitably draws laments about the city’s lack of zoning. As an example, a recent article in the Chronicle was humorously complaining about the proliferation of oil change businesses and pharmacies opening in Montrose. A reader commented:

Oh, to […]

The Dishonesty of Statists

Statists aren’t known for their intellectual honesty, but on occasion they exercise such intellectual gymnastics that even Simone Biles would be impressed. A recent example comes courtesy of the Chronicle’s “Gray Matters,” a column that supposedly has the purpose of making us think about important issues.

The article is titled “Houston sidewalks aren’t improving fast […]

Protecting Texans From Their City

The Texas House is considering a bill that would severely limit the ability of local governments to impose historic designations on private property. Under current law, local authorities have broad discretion in designation historic landmarks and subjecting such properties to government control.

As might be expected, preservationists are up in arms. Steve Sadowsky, the historic […]

Planning Leads to Land-use Regulations

Joe Webb, chairman of Blueprint Houston, an organization that helped draft the city’s General Plan, recently repeated the statist mantra that planning isn’t the same as zoning. At the same time, he noted that the plan will help the city control development and make neighborhoods better.

Technically, Webb is correct. Planning is a process of […]

The City of Our Dreams

To many people, the absence of zoning in Houston explains every ill—whether real or imagined—that plagues the city. A comment to a recent Chronicle article illustrates this attitude:

It was too late to build the city of our dreams in 1836. They built a no zoning sprawl in a swamp and never corrected either mistake.

[…]

Free White Papers and Downloads

Objectively Houston is now offering free White Papers and Downloads in PDF. More will be added in the future.

White Papers

A History Lesson: What We Can Learn From the 1990s Zoning Debate Typically, when we study history, we learn about the consequences of something that happened. Seldom is there a meaningful reason (or even […]

Planning Versus the Central Planner

You can tell a lot about a person by what he chooses to complain about. Critics of Houston’s lack of zoning stand as an example. They claim that Houston has developed without a plan. What they are really denouncing is the fact that Houston has developed without a central planner.

Complexes like Greenway Plaza, the […]

Planning and Land-Use Regulations

During the last debate over zoning in the 1990s, zoning advocates wanted us to believe that Houstonians want planning and planning means zoning. Councilman Jim Greenwood, who lead the pro-zoning efforts, named his organization the Ad Hoc Task Force on Planning and Zoning. He and his allies stressed the fact that zoning would allow for […]