Much of the anger and frustration directed at the town board recently stems from the board’s constant changing of town codes for purely political reasons.
It is unfortunate that the board fails to realize is that it is the rule of law that protects our property rights from bureaucratic aggression while at the same time providing the framework for a system of ‘limited government’.
When governmental power is clearly defined by the law, citizens can make informed decisions about where to live, companies can plan for the future and homeowners can wisely invest in their choice of communities.
Without this structure, the coercive power of the government operates on a sliding scale, progressively favoring some groups at the expense of others. Ultimately, zoning decisions become arbitrary and subjective, reflecting whatever political correctness may be in fashion at the time.
For example, it has become obvious that the recent Avalon Bay hearings have degenerated into something resembling Chicago Mercantile Exchange, with residents being pitted against developers and special housing interests.
Much has been written about how Avalon Bay will ‘revitalize’ Huntington Station and ‘stimulate’ the local economy, with nothing being said about the long term side effects that come from government intervention into the housing market. This small amount of apartments, (379), is barely going of a dent in the housing needs of a town with a population over 200,000.
It is not the point of this article to refute the ‘junk science’ and questionable economic theory behind such claims, but rather to show how the town of Huntington is not being governed by the application of objective laws. Instead, it is being ruled by egocentric, career minded politicians who have rewritten land use codes in order to placate the special interest groups that got them elected.
What is rarely discussed is the fact that these politicians have enacted numerous open space laws that have placed large swaths of land off limits in politically sensitive areas. Because of this, developers are now seeking to make a quick buck by lobbying for the creation of high density housing in all the unincorporated areas of Huntington.
In my opinion, government officials should remain impartial to these demands for ‘special needs’ housing because it inherently discriminates against the majority of the population who don’t meet the arbitrary guidelines set by its creators.
In addition, special laws that alleviate property owners from the responsibility of the consequences from such zoning ‘gratis’ is a big part of the reason why certain sections of Huntington are struggling with a declining quality of life.
When governments take on the role of ‘central planner’ or (in Huntington’s case) hire a ‘Master Developer’, they no longer function as impartial protectors of property rights. They become destroyers of individual liberty and the paid advocates of special interests.
Further, the implementation of the ‘plan’ (Horizons 20/20) has become another reminder how zoning laws are not contracts, for they seem to be ever-changing and constantly altered to fit the political climate.
Had the residents near the proposed Avalon Bay apartment complex known beforehand that local officials had the desire or ability to create such an urban playground, they may have never have invested in the town of Huntington.
Ultimately, for what is seen are the short term ‘solutions’ to imaginary housing shortages.
Consequently, what is not seen are the causes that result in the long term decline of the quality of life for all residents in Huntington.
Peter Nichols is a candidate running for Huntington town board on the Libertarian Party ticket and a is a contributor to the VillageTattler’s POV.The VT welcomes perspectives from all area residents. Huntington POV does not reflect the views of the Village Tattler, rather the individuals who submitted them. Click here for more about the rules and process for submitting an article or other media for publication.