Covid contemporizes land use planning

COVID has been challenging for humanity on many levels, not the least of which is the significant impact on our economy. All levels of government have been struggling to meet the new economic reality. Businesses, large and small, have struggled to say afloat and to keep employees working. Unfortunately, some businesses will be lost forever, and others will need more than just a loan or bailout. Survival may be dependent on the willingness of local government to be flexible, nimble, and willing to adjust zoning regulations for unique situations. Take for example, the mall that needs to backfill empty space. Perhaps an office landlord with vacancies created by the expanding work-from-home economy. There may be commercial space that must shift to residential use, and other space may require significant physical alterations to accommodate new technology.

There are experts arguing that an economic crisis demands greater government regulation and significantly more social spending funded by increases in business taxes. Undoubtedly, some or all of those steps may be necessary to reset the economy on an upward trajectory. Long term solutions will require a great deal more innovation. One logical but overlooked place to begin is with local zoning.


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