The emergence on the late twentieth century of what our textbook calls the “property rights movement” seems to me to be in direct opposition to the public interest, specifically in regards to environmental regulations. The impacts of the changes quickly being felt by climate change are jarring and difficult to study because they are unprecedented and happening very immediately, however limiting the power of government to deal with the issue is irresponsible regardless of the limits of our knowledge. To demand, for example, that a local government pay the lost profit to a property owner who is prevented from building an apartment complex in an area that is turning back to a flood plane is shortsighted and misguided because of the potential cost to the community in the long-run. In cases such as this immediate profit cannot be the first concern.
I have a difficult time understanding the inability of these legislators behind these bills to consider the long run effects calling such regulations takings. The chapter in our textbook on politics in planning tells us that various parties have different priorities in regards to land use laws, so I wonder what the priorities are of legislators who are pushing for such bills. Ideally they are working for the good of their constituency, which is their job, however the short-term goal of reelection can conflict with the looming need for a long-term plan that will prevent further environmental harm from being done. It is a staple feature of our government that comparatively radical causes are checked, and turning our attention to the preservation of our communities from potential natural catastrophes surely deviates from the established norm, however rationally this should not be the case, and I dare say that any politician who fights for such a cause should be valued by his constituency.
The antidote to this conflict must be to find some kind of middle ground. How can we plan for the long-term, for generations, while simultaneously considering the practical needs of the present, like the right of a property owner to make money off of his land? The answer must lie in the details of regulations and laws, rather then in black-and-white summaries of opposing positions. This answer seems to be begging the impossible though, which is to take the politics out of governing. The modern planner is needed to be very much apart of these politics, meaning he is caught in the middle of these opposing causes, and unfortunately in the end the existence or lack thereof of a building is a very black-and-white thing.