The Interrelationship Between Excusionary Subdivision Control – A Second Look

The thesis of this article is that the conclusion set out above is both oversimplified and inaccurate. Contrary to the author’s contention in his Journal article, there are “viable distinctions between zoning and subdivision control,” and consequently the major exclusionary techniques available to suburban communities through “zoning” are simply not available in connection with “subdivision control.” Dramatic attempts at racial exclusion through subdivision control are likely to be infrequent. Although subdivision regulations, like zoning ordinances and building codes, require expenditures by land developers which increase the cost of housing and thus tend to exclude the poor, the effect of subdivision regulations on the cost of housing is relatively unimportant. Furthermore, most subdivision regulations are more easily justified on health, safety, and environmental protection grounds than are the commonly used “exclusionary” zoning techniques. In the final analysis, reductions in the cost of housing will come about only through elimination of these exclusionary zoning techniques and effective action to cope with other factors which contribute significantly to the high cost of housing construction.