Zoning is a powerful tool. It can turn a piece of marginal land into a million dollar piece of property overnight. Fortunes can be made by fiat.
When the stakes are this high, corruption always follows. Dan Walters examines the case of the California coastline. Which is absolutely beautiful by the way.
(From The Sacramento Bee)
With stakes in the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars, it’s not surprising that scandals ensued. One coastal commissioner was nailed for taking bribes, a legislator was revealed to be seeking a coastal zone exemption for his own holdings, and several other lawmakers were found to be carrying exemption bills for others.
The situation was encapsulated in a memo that a coastal land lobbyist wrote to a group of Southern California landowners, describing the increase in value that their holdings would enjoy from a coastal zone exemption and itemizing how much money it would take in lobbying fees and campaign checks to get such a bill through the Legislature.