LETTER: Zoning editorial off base

September 23, 2017

An IBJ editorial suggested that zoning—or lack thereof—is a contributing factor to flooding and other environmental concerns and that zoning regulations in Indiana should be strengthened as a result [Zoning rules have their place, Sept. 4].

The editor’s premise is based on the misunderstanding of what zoning is. Under Indiana law, a legislative body adopting a zoning ordinance may establish districts and assign uses to those districts, such as commercial, industrial or agricultural. The zoning ordinance may also set requirements for how structures should be situated on parcels. While zoning ordinances may restrict development in areas prone to flooding, it is not the proper tool to address drainage issues.

Fortunately, Indiana has comprehensive drainage laws, requiring that drainage be considered whenever new construction takes place. There is no indication that Indiana’s drainage statutes are inadequate.

It’s dangerous to make assumptions and call for additional zoning regulations at the local level. May 2016 estimates from the National Association of Home Builders show that, on average, government regulations account for 24.3 percent of the final price of a new single-family home. The end result of government overreach is that many members of our community are unable to buy a home in the neighborhoods where they work, as builders cannot deliver a product at a price that is affordable. Though we often read that Indiana is an affordable place to live, the average price of a new home in central Indiana is now more than $300,000. With 43 percent of central Indiana households earning $50,000 or less, all but the highest income earners are priced out of owning a new home.

Added regulations that don’t solve the problems we face in Indiana unnecessarily increase home prices and hurt Indiana residents.


Steve Lains, Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis
Rick Wajda, Indiana Builders Association

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