Old Drum

Commentary on Warrensburg, Johnson County and Missouri issues from a Libertarian perspective. View my earlier commentary at www.olddrum.net.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Lakeridge Contretemps

Residents of the high-end Lakeridge subdivision have been taking up quite a bit of the City's time lately (see dB article. They're concerned that runoff from construction in two adjoining subdivisions is causing their lake to fill with silt, and they want it stopped. Their spokesperson is a former Warrensburg mayor, and most of the houses are far valued far beyond what a typical citizen can afford. They're being heard.

My populist streak wonders if the reason they're being heard and getting attention is because they are who they are, or is it because their backgrounds give them the knowledge and talents to make an effective statement to the local political people. My Libertarian core is analyzing whose property rights are more right, the subdivision residents or the buliders.

Generally, I hold that people have the right to do what they wish with their property, as long as it does not directly harm another. While building a low-income housing development next door to a ritzy subdivision may affect the property values of the ritzy neighbor, it does not give the people already there the right to stop the low-income development. However, if the construction causes them direct harm, such as affecting their water table, ruining their roads, etc., then their complaint is valid and they should be able to pursue a remedy.

This case? If the neighboring subdivision (which is not designed as low-income) can be reasonably proved to be causing or contributing to the demise of the lake, then the developer needs to set things straight. However, the subdivision residents shouldn't try to use their political pull to prevent the developer from developing his property, nor should they be exempt from responsibility for such of their own activities that contribute to the lake's problems.

Confusing? Yep. Applying abstract principles to the real world is often like that.

In Liberty


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