Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

Virginia Tea Party: GOP Development Policies = Eco-Extremism

A Virginia policy that loosens restrictions on development, allowing for more walkable conditions, is under attack by representatives of the state's Tea Party movement.

Ironically, "Urban Development Areas" were pioneered by state Republicans to lift regulations such as minimum setbacks and maximum units per acre under certain circumstances. The state requires every county to establish an Urban Redevelopment Area, within which zoning restrictions on density may be relaxed. The areas do not impose any hard-and-fast mandates in the other direction, such as minimum density or maximum parking requirements.

false

Nevertheless, the policy has inflamed the state's Tea Party officials, who have characterized it as a plot by "eco-extremists" to establish "feudalistic transit villages." Tea Party leaders are pushing hard for HB 1721, which would allow counties to opt out of the policy.

In an appeal for HB 1721, Donna Holt of Virginia's Campaign for Liberty called the state's policy "gross violation of property rights," saying "if they have their way, single-family homes will be a thing of the past."

David Alpert at Greater Greater Washington pushes back:

The claim that any of this would take anyone out of any homes is so ridiculous as to be laughable, except for the fact that the Tea Party groups have acquired significant influence over national and state legislators.

More ironic is the way Holt argues that property rights are "the single most important principle" in Virginia, but almost immediately then castigates "corporate developers" for wanting to maximize their own property rights.

It'd be fascinating to see what would happen if a property owner next door to Holt's single-family home requested permission to have the right to put 12 homes on his or her one-acre property. I'm sure Holt would quickly insist that while property rights may be inalienable, the right to prevent any development denser than her own within viewing distance is even more inalienable than that.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space reports that grocer Winn Dixie is reorienting its produce displays toward the street, much like small grocers in New York City. Bike Delaware illustrates how the state's commitment to cycling can be measured by the way it plows snow on the street. And Straight Outta Suburbia, drawing inspiration from Jane Jacobs, says the goal of cities should be auto-attrition, not auto elimination.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Friday’s Headlines Are Still Unsafe

Traffic deaths are declining for those ensconced in thousands of pounds of steel. For the rest of us, not so much.

April 12, 2024

Measure HLA Is Now Officially Law for L.A. City

Check the city maps to find what bus, bike, and walk improvements are coming to streets in your neighborhood.

April 12, 2024

Talking Headways Podcast: Women’s Transportation Seminar

Sara Stickler of WTS International on women’s expertise in transportation and opportunities for mentorship, leadership and education.

April 11, 2024

Don’t Call Thursday’s Headlines a Comeback

Transit ridership isn't all the way back yet, but it continues to climb after collapsing during COVID. Unfortunately, the financial effects of the pandemic on transit agencies still linger.

April 11, 2024

Long-Awaited Report Reveals Widespread Parking Crime by NYPD

The overdue report confirms years of Streetsblog reporting on placard abuse, illegal parking and enforcement failures by the police under two mayors.

April 11, 2024
See all posts