- From my Formspring account. I was asked two interesting questions regarding zoning laws.
Zoning laws are not necessary. Why? It’s because property owners should have the freedom over their land property. Zoning laws are a form of statist regulations. They are based on the premise that your local government knows what’s good for you and it has the right to put things in order. But we all know that if you violated the property rights of your neighbor, then your neighbor would have the right to go after you in the proper court of law. What would prevent you from doing improper/illegal things? The individual rights and property rights of others.
Regarding your answer on the city zoning laws, what if a harmful industrial plant (radioactive/noisy/pollutive) were built within a residential area? What should the people and the government do?
That’s a very good question. The very first idea that hit my head is that no rational, thinking, intelligent businessman or investor would put up a “harmful industrial plant” within a residential area. That would be self-defeating and economically dangerous to the company and its owners/investors. But what if “a harmful industrial plant (radioactive/noisy/pollutive) was built within a residential area.”
That question tells me that the “harmful industrial plant” had already been built within a residential area. Can the government or the people do something in the absence of zoning laws?
First, those who have the right of action- that is, the right to sue- against that “harmful industrial plant” are none other than the affected or injured members of that residential area, not the government. Again, the context of your question is, a harmful industrial plant now operates in a residential area- and perhaps has been there since time immemorial.
There are a number of ways to get rid of that industrial plant if certain members of that community were indeed affected by its operations and/or activities. Here, the limitation on that industrial plant is not merely the community members’ property rights, but most importantly their “individual rights” as well.
There are possible instances wherein affected/injured community members may sue that harmful industrial plant for huge damages. Like I said, the proper role here of the government is to protect those whose rights have been affected. It has the duty to protect the innocent against the guilty. There rule or logic here is: Your right ends when others’ begin.