I have regulations on my mind. This is because I am considering what to do with the second floor of my downtown building. It is large enough to make two nice size apartments. I will develop this property only if the projected benefit of the improvements (rental income, increased property value) exceeds the costs. The costs are the investment of cash and time, interest on loans, a property tax increase, and the big unknown; the costs associated with regulations.
The costs of regulations are hardest to calculate. Mainly this is because virtually every aspect of a development involves both state regulations and local ordinances. Plans are subject to arbitrary interpretations of codes made by unelected government bureaucrats. In other words, I am at the mercy of unelected, unaccountable people who may interpret codes in the most stringent manner, increasing my costs exponentially, ensuring a money losing venture. What's more, they can do this even after they have approved my plans.
I am hopeful that I am worrying needlessly. After all, my first investment downtown was relatively pain free, despite having some of the same worries.
Even so, I don't think it is right that unelected, unaccoutable individuals should hold so much power over others. Not only is it bad for individuals like myself, it is bad for the community if the risks of development exceed the likely rewards because of onerous regulations.
Now, for Kathy, I will try to tie this together with the posts about car safety. It is perhaps difficult to fathom the absurdity of some regulations associated with property development unless you have been there. But imagine, if you would, taking your car in for an oil change. There you meet an unelected state official who tells you that you may not drive your car unless you spend $5,000 retrofitting your car to accomodate people in wheelchairs.
Now you know that won't happen when you go for an oil change. But it may very well happen after I have already spent $100,000 renovating my building. Scary, isn't it?