Links for 3 January 2007

Gorgeous pictures of soccer fields (HT: growabrain)

Too many Realtors

Time-based Zoning takes a blow in Greene

Vista is going to jumpstart blogs and RSS. Or maybe sales of Apple products.

How to fight.
Software for starving students – nice. I am currently using Neo Office, and it’s just fine, thank you. As is Google Docs.

Survey shows the parts of the City of Charlottesville in which residents feel safer(er).

Wal-mart pushing fluorescent bulbs and they may institute congestion scheduling for their workers – if they can do this for their workforce, why can’t the State institute congestion pricing for infrastructure? For all of their perceived evils, government could learn a lot from Wal-Mart.

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  1. jm January 3, 2007 at 11:23

    The Greene board made it clear they want nothing to obstruct developers from doing what they want. Compare the Sheets gas stations in Greene and Madison. Madison has a nice looking one and Greene has a gaudy cheap looking one.

    Greene County BOS Member Mickey Cox called time-based zoning a “piece of trash” and calls some of his constituants “cocktail farmers”. Of course, he stands to make money by selling the land he just took out of was to be a 10 year conservation easement.

    You can tell the board of realtors is afraid of time based zoning in Greene. One of their organizations sent flyers to everyone in the county opposing it.

  2. Robert (french property blogger) January 3, 2007 at 13:18

    I’ve just started a real estate blog, and as we don’t have many over here in France, I decided to look to the USA blogs for inspiration.

    I did a search in Google and saw your site. So I take a look. The first article in the top post is “How to Fight”. Great I think, probably “How to fight for a good real estate deal” or something like that.

    Anyway, I open the article with anticipation, only to find that it begins and ends with the advice that ‘when stabbing your opponent in the throat with a knife, twist it”.

    Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m new to real estate blogging. And maybe over here is France we are a bit backward. However, I can’t figure out the relevancy of this advice to real estate. Can you enlighten me?

  3. Jim Duncan January 3, 2007 at 13:32

    Robert –

    Thank you so much for visiting and for taking the time to comment. Usually my “links” posts are varied – they don’t always pertain only to real estate. I do think that the notion of fighting for what is right is something that is lost, as is the concept of standing up for oneself. The article is a bit extreme, but the fact that the little girl stood up to the bullies is outstanding. While not an advocate for violence, I think that too often, bullies are empowered by people not standing up to them – whether physically when necessary or verbally in a debate.

    I have never before been in a fight, (I’m usually the smaller one) as I have always been able to either 1) talk my way out of it, usually by buying the other guy a beer or 2) in college, my roomates were offensive linemen and defensive tackles for the football team. Only once or twice did I have to look over my shoulder to make sure they were there.

    Thanks to your suggestion, though, I have moved the link further down in the post. I have also subscribed to your RSS feed, and look forward to reading your work.

  4. Jim Duncan January 3, 2007 at 14:08

    jm –

    Slipping on my “Chair of the Realtors’ Government Affairs Committee” hat …

    The Realtor Board has a position to strongly oppose any policy that is deemed to be a taking of private property rights, and time-based zoning is such a thing.

    One thing that I am working to find (with the help of others, input welcomed) is a form of growth management that we as Realtors can advocate for rather than against. Fighting against things all the time is tiring and makes it look like we are in support of rampant, destructive growth – which we are not. What I keep in mind with everything I do is simple – I live here, my kids live here and I want them to enjoy living here for decades to come …

  5. TrvlnMn January 3, 2007 at 17:21

    Re Congestion Scheduling:

    The move promises more productivity and consumer satisfaction, but could demand more flexibility and availability from workers in place of reliable shifts and predictable pay checks, the Journal reported.

    That absolutely sucks. It offers all the headaches of an unpredictable rotating shift with none of the benefits. And what about the employees that work multiple jobs because the one just doesn’t pay enough?

    I vote with my dollars and refuse to shop at Wal-mart.

    All that said, I don’t exactly understand the analogy you were trying to make with the carry over to “congestion pricing.”

  6. jm January 3, 2007 at 17:59

    Does the board of realtors oppose zoning in general? Time-based zoning is simply an extension of it. Why should someone not be allowed to sell their land to anyone for any purpose simply because of its location?

    I support zoning and time based zoning, though in Greene, the TBZ was only being offered in rural areas, not the growth districts.

    However if you oppose TBZ because it infringes on propery rights, shouldn’t you oppose zoning? I’m sure you don’t oppose it.

  7. Ray Hyde January 4, 2007 at 01:27

    It is too bad about tme based zoning. It seems to me that it does prevent the suden conversion of large tracts to development while still allowing the landowner at least some benefits, which is more than they get in Fauquier.

    It seems to me to be a reasonable compromise that slows growth and still allows income.

    But here you have a situation where both the developers and the conservationists oppose it: A clear case of winner take all factions working against the better intersts of everybody.

  8. cvl January 4, 2007 at 14:35

    …not true that conservationists oppose time based zoning. In fact, many local conservation groups came out in support of Albemarle’s proposal for phasing of development(TBZ), and supported Greene’s latest proposal. The postcards regarding TBZ sent out by CAAR/Free Enterprise Forum to Greene County residents was a curious step………

  9. Jim Duncan January 4, 2007 at 14:47

    TrvlMn –

    The congestion pricing was an incomplete analogy to some of the traffic proposals out there. Simply put (as my knowledge is still somewhat limited) you raise the cost of traveling on roads at times where there is more traffic – thus, theoretically (and perhaps practically) causing more people to travel at less-traveled times.

    jm –

    As tempting as it is to say that we do oppose zoning, the honest answer is that I don’t know. That battle was fought long before I became involved, although I think that at some point, there may have been some opposition to zoning.

    Personally, taking the “Chair hat” off – I think that zoning serves a useful purpose, so long as it does not detract from a property owner’s right to use his property to the highest and best use. I think that there are better solutions rather than TBZ. I look forward to seeing what comes of the discussions surrounding David Slutzky’s proposals; while his solution may not be “the” solution, the discussion here and everywhere may cause solutions to emerge.

  10. jm January 4, 2007 at 16:54

    cv and ray,

    What conservation groups were opposed to TBZ in Greene county? I haven’t heard of any.

  11. TrvlnMn January 4, 2007 at 23:22

    You raise the cost of traveling on roads at times where there is more traffic – thus, theoretically (and perhaps practically) causing more people to travel at less-traveled times.

    That sounds like a variation of what the U.K. uses in London- want to take your car to work? or drive certain roads where congestion is an issue? You need to buy a special permits for the privilege. Of course in the UK they’ve got a really decent public transit system.

    It’s an interesting idea. But not one I can support. Employers usually dictate when peak times will be when they schedule their employees to work.

    Plus I’m not willing to make the person who has to work at Wal-mart for low wages and crap benefits (who now also doesn’t have a normal 1st 2nd or 3rd shift because of congestion scheduling) have to pay even more for the privilege of driving to their crappy low paying job (which they also commute to from somewhere in the county not serviced by public transit- because living in town is just ridiculously expensive).

    In any event- thanks for the clarification.