The Preservation Mob

The City is currently preparing a 225-page document that details what property owners in The Heights can and can’t do. The neighborhood is designated as an historical district, and virtually any type of construction requires the permission of city thugs bureaucrats. The Chronicle reports,

Until now, officials say, the process for permit approval has been subjective and reliant on substantial guesswork.

Apparently, the city wants us to believe that the process will become less subjective because they have created a massive set of guidelines. The truth is, the very nature of the process is subjective and issuing mountains of documents won’t change that fact.

If approved, the new guidelines would specify regulations on the size, height and footprint of additions to the historic buildings, as well as detailed stylistic guidance on everything from window frames and doors and siding, chimneys and porches.

In other words, even the smallest details will be determined by government officials, and anyone who dares to disregard the city’s edicts will become a criminal. A property owner could be fined (and perhaps jailed) because he uses siding, moldings, or anything else that the city considers “inappropriate.”

Property owners will be prohibited from using the products and materials of their choice simply because those materials didn’t exist 100 years ago. To the preservationists, it is more important to preserve the historical character of the neighborhood than allow property owners to make decisions for themselves. Preservationists didn’t like what some property owners were doing, and so they passed a law to prohibit the offending actions. The subjective desires of preservationists are to take precedence over the rights of property owners.

If every property owner in The Heights was dedicated to preservation, an ordinance wouldn’t be necessary. The fact that preservationists pushed for an ordinance is their admission of the fact that some property owners are opposed to preservation. But the desires and interests of those property owners were trampled by the mob’s desires. What the preservationists couldn’t accomplish through persuasion they accomplished by parading to City Hall to demand that property owners be forced to conform to what the preservationists believe is right.

When individuals resort to force to impose their desires on others, they implicitly acknowledge that reason is not on their side. Angry mobs are one example. Preservationists are another.

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