Wealthy Alexandrians vs. manufacturer.

Rich people build gated community next to fifty-year-old asphalt plant. Asphalt plant stinks, as asphalt plants do. Rich people get angry. I have no patience for people like this. These are the same dopes that build a McMansion on a postage-stamp sized lot in the country and sue their neighbor because he keeps hogs.

10 thoughts on “Wealthy Alexandrians vs. manufacturer.”

  1. For years, decades really, people built houses next to Denver’s Stapleton Airport. Gradually as time went on, lawsuits were filed (and won) about noise, as if the homeowners didn’t know it when they bought and moved in.

    It took over $5bn to build DIA back in the 90′s. What did developers do? They started building business parks, hotels and homes as close as they could to the new airport.

    The operative theory here is that it is always someone else’s fault.

  2. A large new development is under construction half a mile from the Charlottesville airport. It will have several hundred thousand square feet of retail space and hundreds of houses. If I were on the planning commission I never would have allowed it, if for no other reason that these people are going to sue the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport Authority and the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport Commission over the airplane noise. It’s inevitable. It’ll cost a bundle to defend. So why go down that road?

  3. Ronald Coase only wrote a ground-breaking paper on this exact situation (on the problem of social costs).

    He’s rolling over in his grave right now. Especially since the plant went in BEFORE they bought the houses. Sheesh.

  4. Berryville is growing as a suburb of Winchester. Nice new homes have been built in downtown Berryville, right near the old air raid siren which calls out all the volunteer firefighters (which I think are the only kind Berryville has) to fight fires and rescue lost kids, etc. New residents who retired to the “country” for the country life are annoyed with the noise and want only the charming parts of country life which include things like anthropomorphic animals, charming folk art, and bigass SUVs. They get up a petition drive to get rid of the siren as the first step to “civilizing” Berryville. My sister runs off one of the signature seekers from her property with a shotgun. Welcome to the country!

  5. I think it’s hard to say whether Ronald Coase would be rolling in his grave. The Coase Theorem predicts that no matter what the law says here, and who moved in first, the parties will privately bargain and reach an efficient result that properly assigns the cost of economic “externalities.” In other words, things will work themselves out, no matter what the situation.

    (Except, though, that the Theorem assumes there are no transaction costs and that people are rational.)

    Link to the Coase’s original paper on this:
    http://www.sfu.ca/~allen/CoaseJLE1960.pdf

    Wikipedia article on the Coase Theorem:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coase_Theorem

  6. The Alexandria story is one of those where a person can’t help but say, “people are stupid.”

    It’s the same old story- people move in, don’t like the way things are, so they start complaining to try and get things changed. It could almost be cville on any given issue.

    And you’re right about the development near the airport. I wouldn’t go so far as to not allow any development near it. But I would’ve tried to restrict it to commercial/industrial.

    However since the houses are already going to go in part of any sales contract the developer writes should stipulate that “the purchaser is aware that they are purchasing property near an airport and might be subject to associated noise, and purchaser agrees not to hold the developer or county responsible for noise abatement resulting from flight traffic.”

  7. The Coase Theorem predicts that no matter what the law says here, and who moved in first, the parties will privately bargain and reach an efficient result that properly assigns the cost of economic “externalities.”

    Fascinating! I knew nothing about this. Thanks for the link.

    And you’re right about the development near the airport. I wouldn’t go so far as to not allow any development near it. But I would’ve tried to restrict it to commercial/industrial.

    Good point. There’s no reason why it can’t be used for such things. It’s residential usage that’s the problem.

  8. Good point. There’s no reason why it can’t be used for such things. It’s residential usage that’s the problem.

    Ah, but the developer only wanted to put in his Big Box Nirvana. It was the ABoS that insisted the development go in with X amount of residential units and, of that, X percentage at the “affordable housing” level. It’s part of the plan to eliminate big-box development for its own sake. Which, as an anti-sprawl advocate, I applaud. Theory and practice, though, still have a ways to go before they firmly shake hands in this litigious society.

    I do like the idea of the caveat clause in the property sales/rental contracts, but I wonder if it would be enforceable in the courts. In general, I have to echo whomever it was who said “It’s an urban environment,” to which I’d add the unspoken, “so you need to be getting over it.” (Rather like the opponents of 9-story buildings in Cville–sorry, but limited acreage means higher buildings which means smaller eco-footprints for us all. As a tree-hugger I really can’t find fault with that plan, even if I don’t like the aesthetics of concrete jungles.)

  9. Ah, but the developer only wanted to put in his Big Box Nirvana. It was the ABoS that insisted the development go in with X amount of residential units and, of that, X percentage at the “affordable housing” level.

    I remember that, and I know this is a small distinction- but when I think “commercial/industrial” I think of more than just “retail” with jobs that pay more than $6 to $8 dollars an hour.

    As for the “Caveat Clause” it probably couldn’t be enforced, however I think simply having it in the contract- and the purchaser knowing it was in the contract- might give them pause before they start thinking about kicking up a stink over air traffic noise.

    And my big gripe about the 9 story buildings aren’t their “height” but their “prices.” In a city that claims to care about affordable housing approving/allowing developments that only rich people will be able to afford in my opinion is hypocrisy.

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