Proposed Des Moines Zoning Changes

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ArgentCy

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Jan 13, 2010
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I debated whether or not to put this into the Cave but I think it should be in the Real Estate Section.

Apparently the City of Des Moines is going full we know best mode. This is absolutely crazy town and would halt new construction in the City. And that they try and couch this as cutting Red Tape is so disingenuous as to be laughable.

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/s...ity-zoning-code-home-construction/3740891002/

Consultants from Chicago spent 19 months examining every city street to determine appropriate scale and design guidelines based on the character of each neighborhood. (well now there's your problem)

The proposed code would require one-story homes have 1,400 square feet of finished space above grade, while a two-story home would need 1,800 square feet. Homes also would be required to have a full basement and a single-car garage.
 

somecyguy

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Jun 19, 2006
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They also identified the specific architecture that would be required in each of the city's neighborhoods. New homes built in Beaverdale would be brick cottages, while those in Union Park would be pre-war bungalows, Craftsman-style homes or Victorians.

That is crazy over reach. Cedar Rapids recently did some studies similar to this, but it was more a discussion regarding whether the city should require a variety of floor plans within a development. Nothing like that.

I see no upside to that, because despite their argument about simplifying the process, everyone knows eventually, exceptions will be added.
 

ArgentCy

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Jan 13, 2010
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Yes, but they are reducing the Red Tape.... My question is how do they put that statement out with a straight face?
 

spierceisu

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Jan 28, 2007
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Waukee
It says in the article it is going to "preserve or increase home values". Call me a conspiracy theorist, but It sounds to me like it is a money grab for property taxes. With all the minimum requirements for square footage and basements, it is a guaranteed increase to property tax income. I am so sick of government controls. It is like a city wide HOA.
 

Sigmapolis

Minister of Economy
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Aug 10, 2011
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This country has millions fewer housing units than it needs right now.

https://www.globenewswire.com/news-...its-behind-housing-demand-from-2000-2015.html

The use of zoning laws to artificially suppress the supply of homes (and therefore line the pockets of current homeowners and real estate agents at the expense of people trying to buy into the market and renters) is anti-competitive behavior.

For the longest time, the lack of that kind of stuff was one of the major advantages that Midwestern and southern cities had -- ample housing supply, translating to low land and housing prices for residents/high real incomes (after housing prices) and lower costs of labor and land for businesses. Letting that go bye-bye for entrenched interests is no bueno.
 

Gunnerclone

Well-Known Member
Jul 16, 2010
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DSM
You call design standards crazy until you come to Columbus and see a neighborhood full of early 20th century homes where people have bought a home just to tear it down and put up this:

 

ArgentCy

Well-Known Member
Jan 13, 2010
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This country has millions fewer housing units than it needs right now.

https://www.globenewswire.com/news-...its-behind-housing-demand-from-2000-2015.html

The use of zoning laws to artificially suppress the supply of homes (and therefore line the pockets of current homeowners and real estate agents at the expense of people trying to buy into the market and renters) is anti-competitive behavior.

For the longest time, the lack of that kind of stuff was one of the major advantages that Midwestern and southern cities had -- ample housing supply, translating to low land and housing prices for residents/high real incomes (after housing prices) and lower costs of labor and land for businesses. Letting that go bye-bye for entrenched interests is no bueno.
Exactly, these types of laws INCREASE the disparity between rich and poor. It will increase the property values of those who own homes in the area in the short run (0-20 years perhaps) but those who don't already own a home will be left behind.
 

jbindm

Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2010
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Des Moines
I guess it's not quite gentrification since they're not renovating existing structures but the goal appears to be the same.
 

ArgentCy

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Jan 13, 2010
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This will give anyone a good thing to throw back at them when they complain (and they will) about a lack of affordable housing. Well duh, you demanded everyone must live in a relatively large and expensive home.

The full basement requirement is also most unheard of and adds extensive costs for less benefit. It also makes a lot of sites just not buildable. I mean there are large cities where no one has a basement because of the soil.
 

Sigmapolis

Minister of Economy
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I thought work ethic was what separated the rich and poor.
There are plenty of regressive policies out there.

They just tend to benefit the upper-middle class at the expense of the truly poor far more than the upper-middle class really wants to be thinking about it.
 

EnhancedFujita

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My gut thought on this is that they probably have concerns about the quality of redevelopment in the older parts of town. There isn't really brand new subdivisions being built in Des Moines proper, so they have different needs than some of the suburbs would for regulations.

I know there are business models for development out there where cheap land is acquired, razed, and substandard housing is built on it and then rented out. This seems to me to be an attempt to limit that style of redevelopment and preserve the existing character of neighborhoods.

Of course there are the potential for unintended consequences, and some of the new requirements do raise some concerns about how it would effect affordably building new homes. However, in my opinion, I think the ship has sailed on the expectation that single family homes are "affordable" to the median incomes. I don't think you can realistically build something new and get it into the "affordable" price point until you're at a denser product like a townhome.
 

mtowncyclone13

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Let me play devil's advocate.

Right now the suburbs use DSM proper for their entertainment needs, cultural attractions, etc and those users pay no property tax to DSM as they live in other communities. Those other communities, because they have greenfields, can put in zoning regulations that basically make it so all cheap housing has to go into DSM and their smaller lots sizes, less restrictive storm water code, etc. In essence, the same cities that use DSM for (almost) free can pretty much force DSM to take on the brunt of the affordable housing issue. It's not fair or equitable.

If DSM enacts tougher standards you're probably going to get some of the people who want to live in closer-in neighborhoods but are scared of making the investment because of the low-income housing myths, so they move to Waukee, for example. You may see more high-income people move in and at the same time go on the offensive towards the same cities that are forcing low income residents into DSM. Until West Des Moines/Ankeny/Waukee lower their standards for development it's unfair to criticize Des Moines.

All of the people in this thread should be equally (if not more) upset at the suburbs own zoning which all-but-eliminates low-income housing in those jurisdictions.
 

ArgentCy

Well-Known Member
Jan 13, 2010
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My gut thought on this is that they probably have concerns about the quality of redevelopment in the older parts of town. There isn't really brand new subdivisions being built in Des Moines proper, so they have different needs than some of the suburbs would for regulations.

I know there are business models for development out there where cheap land is acquired, razed, and substandard housing is built on it and then rented out. This seems to me to be an attempt to limit that style of redevelopment and preserve the existing character of neighborhoods.

Of course there are the potential for unintended consequences, and some of the new requirements do raise some concerns about how it would effect affordably building new homes. However, in my opinion, I think the ship has sailed on the expectation that single family homes are "affordable" to the median incomes. I don't think you can realistically build something new and get it into the "affordable" price point until you're at a denser product like a townhome.
I doubt you can even build one of these houses on a lot of infill lots as they just aren't big enough. They've got so many set back requirements, frontage requirements, and now size requirements that it's likely impossible to actually check all of those requirements.
 

EnhancedFujita

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Let me play devil's advocate.

Right now the suburbs use DSM proper for their entertainment needs, cultural attractions, etc and those users pay no property tax to DSM as they live in other communities. Those other communities, because they have greenfields, can put in zoning regulations that basically make it so all cheap housing has to go into DSM and their smaller lots sizes, less restrictive storm water code, etc. In essence, the same cities that use DSM for (almost) free can pretty much force DSM to take on the brunt of the affordable housing issue. It's not fair or equitable.

If DSM enacts tougher standards you're probably going to get some of the people who want to live in closer-in neighborhoods but are scared of making the investment because of the low-income housing myths, so they move to Waukee, for example. You may see more high-income people move in and at the same time go on the offensive towards the same cities that are forcing low income residents into DSM. Until West Des Moines/Ankeny/Waukee lower their standards for development it's unfair to criticize Des Moines.

All of the people in this thread should be equally (if not more) upset at the suburbs own zoning which all-but-eliminates low-income housing in those jurisdictions.
I know there are several suburbs that already have garage requirements and minimum building size for homes in place. So its not like DSM is doing something that hasn't already been done. So you are right in some of those aspects.

I do think that this is missing the bigger picture that affordable single family housing just isn't a feasible product anymore. A recent study said that the metro needs something like 50,000 new housing units priced at the $175,000 mark. I'm just not sure that low density housing can be built at that price point anymore.
 

ArgentCy

Well-Known Member
Jan 13, 2010
20,239
11,114
113
Let me play devil's advocate.

Right now the suburbs use DSM proper for their entertainment needs, cultural attractions, etc and those users pay no property tax to DSM as they live in other communities. Those other communities, because they have greenfields, can put in zoning regulations that basically make it so all cheap housing has to go into DSM and their smaller lots sizes, less restrictive storm water code, etc. In essence, the same cities that use DSM for (almost) free can pretty much force DSM to take on the brunt of the affordable housing issue. It's not fair or equitable.

If DSM enacts tougher standards you're probably going to get some of the people who want to live in closer-in neighborhoods but are scared of making the investment because of the low-income housing myths, so they move to Waukee, for example. You may see more high-income people move in and at the same time go on the offensive towards the same cities that are forcing low income residents into DSM. Until West Des Moines/Ankeny/Waukee lower their standards for development it's unfair to criticize Des Moines.

All of the people in this thread should be equally (if not more) upset at the suburbs own zoning which all-but-eliminates low-income housing in those jurisdictions.
This will be far more restrictive than any of the suburbs. This is the most restrictive zoning that I've seen anywhere near here.
 

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