Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Work Force Housing

Coming home tonight from a Republican meeting in Plymouth, I listened to a long discussion of a newly passed "Work Force Housing" law on New Hampshire Public Radio. The discussion would have been a whole lot better if the contributors had described the contents of the law. Apparently "workforce housing" is the new name for "affordable housing", which used to mean housing cheap enough for black families to buy. The law is supposed to, somehow, restrict local planning boards from keeping "work force" housing out of town. Nobody on the panel discussion talked about just how the law would do that.
The usual planning board/zoning board tactic for keeping undesirables out of town is zone out apartments, 'cause renters are untrustworthy, and zone out cheap houses by requiring huge expensive lots. Another good one is to zone out multifamily houses (triple deckers) requiring nothing but single family homes, and, of course, don't forget to zone out those unsightly trailer parks. There are probably some other tricks of the trade as well.

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