I am part of a team that is doing a research study on SF-6 zoning in San Marcos and related laws in other cities. We created a survey and I would like any feedback you could provide. The link will take you to surveymonkey.com, thank you for your participation! If you have any questions please email me. firstname.lastname@example.org
The link will take you to surveymonkey.com.
<a href="http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=gEiIDtAJk4zrievV36eHvA_3d_3d">Click Here to take survey</a>
I am generally against laws that make it illegal to have a greater potentiality to break another law, especially if the law adversely affects a great number of people who are unlikely to cause the problem that is trying to be fixed.
Why not make being male and over the age of 13 illegal, no more loud keg parties and virtually eliminate violent crime all in one fell swoop.
Because too many innocents would get caught in that net? What else would that apply to? SF-6 zoning? Where is that line of unreasonably punishing people for a greater potential for doing something some people don't approve of don't approve of?
I think I just pissed off everyone on this forum, I hadn't pissed off previously. Maybe we should stick to food, beer, and music.
I'm not pissed off, but I think you are missing a large part of the point here.
Single-family zoning is not unique or uncommon and in many places, it is defined as SINGLE FAMILY, as in NO unrelated persons, so ours isn't even excessive by comparison.
In fact, as I mentioned earlier, there are subdivisions within San Marcos that prohibit any unrelated persons to live under one roof and have sued property owners who violated that rule. Those restrictions will likely become more and more common.
Here is my thought, as a property owner in an unrestricted neighborhood.
I'll probably piss everyone else off.
Let's say I buy a house for $200,000. I pay about $210,000 when all of the closing costs are factored in. If, for some reason, I decide to move the next day, I need to sell the house for about $225,000 to get my $210,000 and back after I pay the realtor.
So, on day 1, I'm $25,000 upside down on my house, relative to the current market value.
Bear in mind that this is not money that I have, because I borrowed most of the money to buy the house. This is money that I owe to other people and would have to pull out of my ass if I sold the house for less.
The way a mortgage is structured, I will still owe $187,000 for the house in 5 years on a "typical" 30 year fixed (don't even get me started on those interest-only mortgages), plus the $10,000 I paid in closing costs. So, I need to get $197,000 for the house, just to break even. But don't forget the realtor, so I need to sell the house for $210,000.
So, as a homeowner, I have to count on two things 1) I will be happy in that home for 5+ years and/or 2) property values will go up at a healthy rate.
Here's where the problem comes in. If I move into the house and it turns out that the neighborhood has a lot of loud parties that make it difficult for me to sleep through the night before I get up at 5:00 to go to work and there are a lot of drunk drivers and speeders running over mailboxes and making me uncomfortable letting my kids ride their bikes in the street, walk to friends' houses or at times, play in the front yard, I'm going to want to move. I might even say that I need to move, depending on how bad the issue is.
Now, I said IF and I am by no means saying that this will happen all the time or even often, but if I am talking about going over $200,000 in debt and making a 5+ year commitment, how much risk will I take?
Then, take an issue like we have near Sagewood. The problems are very well known and increasingly visible to anyone who does not already know what is going on.
There are two stone mailboxes on Camaro Way that are nothing but rubble. There are skid marks up and down some of the streets. There are fast food wrappers and beer cans on the side of the road every weekend.
Oh yeah, and there are the skid marks down the street and into a front yard, over a for sale sign, which must be a great selling point for that home.
So now, you have people who don't want to live where they are, but they can't get out. Word of that spreads quickly and not only do people not buy in that neighborhood, but they start looking for neighborhoods with tighter restrictions or even looking at other towns, because they don't want to take too much risk with that $200,000.
Sure, statistically the renters in residential neighborhoods may be extremely unlikely to cause problems, but why would I take that chance if I don't have to? After all, look how bad it gets when it does get bad. Did you hear about that woman who says she heard someone getting raped on Sagewood, from her back door? Holy cow! No thanks! I'll take my money to Plum Creek.
Throw in a cool market, where things aren't appreciating all that fast under the best conditions and you have a recipe for a city with only 30% home ownership, which then leads to fewer jobs coming to town and people being more inclined to leave (read: our greatest export is college graduates) because they have nothing holding them here.
Last, but not least, if the neighborhood falls apart, the renters can do something that I can't. They can leave. Maybe they have to break a lease or maybe they have to wait it out, but they are never more than a year from an exit, if they need one, which makes me uncomfortable because they don't have nearly the skin in the game that I have.
So, it is not just about making laws to prevent other laws from being broken. There is an economic issue here for the city, for the property owners and frankly, for everyone else as well.
The answer, from the renters perspective, is not to force a zoning change down everyone's throats, because the property owners will just put their own restrictions in place or stop buying here. The answer is to make a conscious effort to improve the image of students and dispel the notion that renters=trouble. The most obvious place to start is Sagewood. As a renter, you should be completely pissed at what is going on over there and how difficult it is making things for you, when you try to rent property anywhere.
You are being judged by their actions. It's not fair, but it is what is happening. If more of you got on our side about the problem areas and were more vocal in demanding something be done to clean all that up, more of us would feel comfortable taking a chance on you as a neighbor.
OK just for internet conversing sake. 15-20 years ago the student were all over town but mostly in apartments or houses near campus as were other other non-students who had roomates (I was one after college for several years). We now have this type of zoning enforced and it seems to have pushed all the people with roomates and no family to one part of town. Has this form of zoning worked well for you and your neighbors or just people that live in other parts of town?
Nothing is working for me right now. I don't know what the catalyst was. There were problem fraternities that got kicked off campus and moved into the neighborhoods, there was Sagewood; I don't know if there was one thing you could point to.
But, the reality is there is a serious problem for some of us and you will never convince us that lifting the zoning restrictions will help our situation and it won't spread the renters out all that much, because so may neighborhoods have deed restrictions like Willow Creek. From our standpoint, it will just open things up in our neighborhoods and that increases our odds of having a problem.
If one renter in 1000 is a problem and none live in my neighborhood, my risk is 0. If 1 lives there, the risk is 1/1000. If 50 live there, the risk is 1/20.
Also, property owners are a minority in San Marcos, property owners in unrestricted neighborhoods are an even smaller minority and property owners in unrestricted neighborhoods near campus in popular areas for renters are a tiny, tiny minority, so we're going to be really defensive and really loud about our rights.
I'm telling you, a grass-routes campaign from the university to clean up Sagewood and the surrounding neighborhoods would go a LOOOOOOOOOng way. For starters, there is a ton of garbage from LBJ and Chestnut, through a number of neighborhoods and right up to Sagewood. The neighborhoods around Bishop are just as bad. I'm sure there are others.
Rather than fussing about how half the renters on Sagewood are not students, why not get some folks cleaning up litter from time to time? The school is able to clean the parking lots after all the tailgaters leave, so I know they have the manpower and the tools.
That sort of high-visibility, high-impact effort a couple times a year would be unbelievable, IMO.
Anything. The University Star denounced the goings on on Sagewood, but no solution was offered. Just "we're not like them". Yeah, but you're not like us either, because we're stuck here, fighting this every day. I walk the neighborhood, cleaning up trash, all the time.
Skin in the game, my friends. Skin in the game. If you want me to see you as one of us, you've got to get dirty and help fix the issues that we're trying to fix.
Most every city in Texas and throughout the United States have zoning laws, except Houston. I don't think that is the model we want to follow. The landlords love putting more people in a house. They can charge more per renter. More renters equals more cars, girlfriends/boyfriends, overnight guests etc. Please explain to me how this improves my quality of life or property values. I assure you it won't unless I'm a landlord which I am not.