Thursday, 27 November 2014

Herne Bay and Property Rights

A correspondent tells me that this flyer's been showing up in mailboxes around Herne Bay.

Let's go through the purported rights here enumerated:

  • The right to object to neighbours' putting up a 4-story building that "steals daylight, privacy, perhaps views, and devalues your property".
    • Some of this is legitimate; a process that facilitates Coasean bargaining with truly affected neighbours would be better. 
  • The right to have ample on-street parking available whenever you might want it.
    • Unless they've bought an easement from Council providing guaranteed spots in front of their houses, this is no more a right than having an unconstrained commute with no traffic.
    • Pragmatically, this stuff should be handled by putting in time limits on parking on residential streets with exceptions for those with residents' passes. Hand out two per house and let them on-sell them if they want.
  • The right to have the neighbourhood look as it always has looked.
    • Again, unless they've gone and purchased easements from the neighbours preventing substantive changes to properties, there's no right here. 
The rights that are missing:
  • The right to use your owned property as you wish;
  • The right to change how your house looks, even if some other people who don't own your house don't like that anything anywhere ever changes.
  • The right of others to join together buy a property on the street with their own money, from a willing seller, and to put up townhouses to live in.
The "If you think your home is your castle, think again!" line is a howler. If it's my castle, I can paint it purple and change the front gate without getting resource consents even if the Herne Bay Residents Association Incorporated doesn't like it. 

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