Advocate editorial board opinion: City leaders should discuss zoning

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Nov. 16, 2010 at 5:16 a.m.

While we fully support private property rights, we also think zoning - at least some simple version of it - ought to remain a topic for consideration.

Victoria seems to be on the verge of growth the likes we haven't seen in decades. We want an assurance this growth, if it surfaces, remains orderly.

Uncontrolled growth and incompatible land uses - a new concrete factory bordering an existing neighborhood, for example - hurts residential property values, subdivision integrity and the homeowners' quality of life.

Victoria, it turns out, is the third biggest Texas city, behind only Houston and Pasadena, to lack zoning.

Because Victoria remains unzoned, the possibility for these land-use conflicts not only exists but rears itself in many parts of the city today.

Even so, private property rights are too important, too essential to our way of life. We do not support a government agency or commission making decisions about how you can use your property.

So, where is the happy medium? While we agree no perfect solution exists - especially in an established city such as Victoria - one option seems to offer the best of both worlds.

Neighborhood Protection is a form of simplified zoning that designates existing neighborhoods as residential, and all other land and property as mixed use. This approach aims to protect the neighborhoods in which we live while allowing the flexibility elsewhere for development to continue as always.

We are not saying the city should institute Neighborhood Protection. Rather, we suggest this approach to city zoning ought to remain on the table.

We urge city leaders and planners to further study our future, the effects of predicted growth and the best means to ensure our quality of life.

We are under no illusion Victoria will one day soon suffer the problems apparent in big cities. With growth, however, comes new challenges.

As Victoria readies for the effects of Caterpillar, next year's university underclassmen and more, we hope Victoria's small-town touches and quality of life remain. That is why we say some form of zoning must remain a topic for consideration.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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