A congressional oversight committee recently leaked secret federal plans to institute Code Free Zones. These “zoning free” areas have been identified by the Federal Emergency Managment Agency (FEMA) which would strip thousands of pages of zoning regulations currently implemented in communities across America. According to congressional sources, FEMA is prepared to implement these zones in the event of a planning emergency.
The Code Free Documents outlined several conditions where FEMA could step in and implement these plans.
- If a town is spending more then two years to discuss zoning changes
- If the current zoning code is divided into three or more volumes
- If the number of zoning categories exceed the maximum allowable residential density
- If the zoning map looks more like a mosaic than urban form
- If the planning language is jargon heavy or has Acronyms without definitions
- If it requires four or more staff members to determine compliance
- If the number of zoning requirements exceed your total population
- If every zoning discussion attracts more then 50 upset citizens or insights public protest and unrest
In the event of these planning disasters, FEMA could step in and remove all zoning by declaring a Code Free Zone.
Of course this has raised concerns from the American Planning Association (APA). The APA will share these concerns in their next issue of Planning Magazine. They are currently struggling with the selection of the appropriate cover image to represent their position. However, members of the APA have taken to social media concerned that Code Free Zones would result in planning zombies roaming the streets with nothing to do.
The building industry is applauding this broad overreach of government to deregulate zoning. Developers explained that finally the federal government is taking action, and the building industry would have the opportunity to return to market freedom to build American cities. The industry also asserted the need to have the Treasury included in Code Free Zones to remove federally backed loan requirements that support unsustainable suburban development.
In the coming days more details will be released on this secret federal program. Until then, we just need to recognize that today is April 1st. Happy April’s Fools.