Raleigh has posted the 150 page Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) for public comment here. This ordinance puts in law much of the new Comprehensive Land Use Plan. You can post comments on each paragraph in the ordinance at the city website. You must register and each entry is limited to 2,000 characters. Comment period ends March 31st. Please visit the site and post comments. Here is my comment on the introductory paragraph.
This introductory statement fairly characterizes the
document that follows. As such it is a microcosm of the major flaws in the
First, what does the “commitment to sustainability” mean?
Those who use this term often fail to define it and for good reason. Any meaningful definition reveals the
absurdity of the term. For example, the term is often defined as “development
that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their needs.” This definition ignores the principles of resource economics and assumes
that we can know today the needs of future generations. Thus, sustainability is most often used
as a political weapon by those who want to control development and the use of
natural resources. See the report: Sustainable Growth: Principles and Policies here.
Second, this introduction argues that UDO rules and
regulations will “ensure that the growth takes the right form and occurs in the
right locations.” The authors are using “right” in order to cover-up the fact
that they mean correct. In other words, Raleigh city government will use
governmental force to require the correct form at the correct locations. This
represents a presumption of knowledge. Who in city government knows the “correct” form and location? In reality
this represents government planners and powerful special interest groups imposing
their values on the rest of the community. Once approved, the city uses force to impose its plan on the
thousands of individual plans. City residents have invested and saved in order
to implement their plans based on their values only to find their plans and
values superseded by the values of planners and special interest groups. Make no mistake; this is not about the
“right form” and the “right locations.” It is about a small minority in the
community using governmental force to impose its values on the rest of the