Johnny has another good post up about creating economic solutions at home and the constraints posed by zoning and regulations.
After the fires a year and a half ago, he predicted that many people would not rebuild because they couldn’t handle the costs of regulatory compliance. He was right. Half of the empty lots in the county affected by the fire are for sale, even in rich areas. The places that are being re-built the fastest are those lots that have been bought en-masse by huge conglomerates that have enough lawyers and employees to deal with the regulations and permitting. How long until our civilization collapses under the weight of its regulatory burden? How long until the era of Huge Corporations ends? Not long, I wager. Johnny’s posts are about transitional solutions and should be taken seriously.
Up here, the main cottage industry is marijuana. Neighbors two houses down have turned their Chinese-owned rental house into a staging area for interstate marijuana trafficking. There are about 6 cars parked out front: a Chevy Avalanche towing a horse trailer that’s being filled with pot and 5 other cars of various mules being use to bring the pot from the neighboring hills to the house, which is kind of a flop-house for various kin and felons including a meth addict who always has a new bike. I tried to involve local law and even federal law enforcement but ran into opposition and apathy from my other neighbors (“Don’t rock the boat!”). Wouldn’t it be better to have a guy running a small machine shop or re-upholstering business in that house instead? Would these same neighbors who are fine with the flophouse be opposed to an in-home auto mechanic or machinist or welder? I’m not sure. It might be expensive for prospective cottage industrialists to find out, but what are the alternatives? I suppose one way of keeping your neighbors quiet about a home business is by keeping the premises as quiet as possible and minimizing auto traffic. Another way is to hire their kids to sweep up and do other tasks. Who is going to oppose a neighbor who provides on-the-job training? Another alternative is to remind contentious neighbors that you can also make money off the house as a rental property which means new neighbors every 2 years on average and a lot more cars. Better the devil you know than the one you don’t know.