Who loses most when city planners rezone commercial land in order to make room for more housing? Is it the right of a citizen who moves into an area rich in industrial zoning to complain about trucks and businesses or is this a buyer beware issue?
In Boynton Beach, Florida there is a controversy brewing about the fate of the last vestiges of Industrially Zoned land. Currently, the city planners and county commissioners are investigating an option to rezone some of it and rededicate it for residential development. The Industrial area in question lies just East of I-95 in an area of mass retail and office growth in Palm Beach County, Florida.
Boyton Beach, Florida is fast approaching becoming the largest city in Central Palm Beach County. It lies North of Boca Raton, Florida and South of West Palm Beach, Florida. It has ocean frontage and continues all the way west to the county limits. There is plenty of land in the West... but for whatever reason they have decided to cut out a parcel of the precious eastern industrial land to use for more housing. There are big blocks of space with dying retail or even further east hotly disputed redevelopment areas that would have been better suited for such housing!!
The biggest damage that it does to the area is JOB GROWTH. We're not talking about heavy industrial - we're talking light industrial mixed with office space. Light manufacturing like storm shutters, contractors, windows, doors, siding, plumbing... these are the workers that SUPPORT HOUSING GROWTH!!
If the companies cannot base themselves centrally near their clients then they have to travel further to get to their clients. This puts a strain on costs due to gas and wear and tear on vehicles. It also means that workers don't live as close to work ... these are small condos where offices and administrative personnel work. When the workplace moves, so does the workforce!
But most importantly... when you rezone land - it is SO much easier to get it zoned for residential or anything else than industrial. Industrial is a highly specialized area. It requires transportation arteries that no other zoning needs. It requires access to airports, train rails, ports, highways. It requires its own power grids. It requires environmental specialists. It requires heavier roads for machinery. It also requires far more time to fill up than a residential neighborhood - which requires PATIENCE to get it to capacity... but when it does reach capacity it makes a municipal and county government hum with tax dollars and jobs!!
When you take even one acre away, you could be taking a dozen jobs! When you take 100 acres away - you can take HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of tax dollars away... and when you replace it with simple residential - even high density residential, you are NOT replacing the jobs. Environmentalists argue that industrial space is harder on the environment - which is EXACTLY why city planners put it in certain areas and deny rezoning to industrial outside those areas!
What adds insult to injury is when businesses are harassed and sued for running their businesses and inconveniencing the encroaching residential neighborhoods! If you live near an industrial park, you should understand that at 7am a Semi-truck is likely to hit its horn or drive by your townhome. If you're taking your kids to the corner, you're likely to see some trucks hauling materials in the same lane as the school bus driver. And... you're bound to see people that are laborers walking around these areas on their breaks and hitting the local fast food restaurants and tearing out of there at 5pm right when you're trying to get home. It is inevitable.
If you live above a nightclub, you're gonna hear thumpa thumpa into the wee hours....
If you live next to an industrial park, you're gonna have to learn to deal with workers and industrial vehicles!