Friday, February 8, 2013

HB 1521: Tourism Activity Zones

Virginia House Bill 1521, which passed the House of Delegates almost unanimously, is likely to be enacted into law. What it says is that communities may designate tourist zones--as in clearing downtown streets for music festivals and so on--and people selling property may warn buyers that the property is in a tourist zone.

It may have Trojan-horse potential, as some correspondents think it has, but I can see why so many legislators liked this one. Tourists are generally attracted to downtown areas. Downtown areas like traffic. Tourists are likely to have a little extra time to kill in downtown areas, where they may spend money, and where, in any case, they make downtown areas more interesting. Tourists are fun. Someone who wants to open a business is likely to buy property in a "tourism activity zone"; someone who wants a quiet place for a private home is probably not interested in a downtown area anyway, but deserves some warning if the town is in the habit of hosting parades, music festivals, open-air dramas, or whatever. If we weren't all hypersensitized to land grabs and Agenda 21, I cannot for the life of me see what some correspondents would not like about this bill.

Unfortunately, we are, and I can. Sort of. Dimly. Down the road. Anything that enshrines the concept of zoning in our state law is bad...even if, otherwise, it's good clean profitable fun all the way.

If you want to urge your State Senator to be vigilant about what may be following on the heels of HB 1521, here's the list of Senators considering this one now: "Ruff (Chairman), Colgan, Stosch, Martin, Locke, Herring, Petersen, Barker, Vogel, Stuart, Black, Reeves, Garrett, Deeds, Ebbin."