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April Update 2023

Dear Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour,
First of all thanks so much Pamela Cornell for this beautiful recent picture of the Inner Harbour. 

BELLE ISLAND ON EARTH DAY, Saturday, April 22. Gates open from 9 am until 3 pm. ALL WELCOME.
K&P TRAIL CLEAN-UP, Sun, April 23.
Meet at the intersection of River and Rideau Sts.  9 am til noon.
All welcome!  As always, yummy treats generously donated by Bread and Butter Bakery and Quattrocchi’s.
1. Friends of Queen Street Concerns about the Developer’s New Proposal: Deadline Apr 18
2. Public Art in Kingston’s Downtown – Tues, April 18
3. Your T.V Series about Kingston Housing called “Division Street”
4. Spring Collection of Household Batteries – April 17 – 21
5. Indigenous Food Sovereignty Garden coming to City Park
6. Just Recovery News Update – Upcoming Meeting Apr 19
7. S.S. Keewatin Readies for Voyage to Kingston
8. Heads Up for this year’s Jane’s Walks – May 5-7
9. Styrofoam along the Inner Harbour Shoreline
10. David Tannery Hearing Scheduled for January 2024
11. Pitch-In Week – Sustainable Kingston – Broad Picture
12. John Counter Blvd. Pedestrian Bridge – Connecting KIngscourt, Rideau Heights, & the K&P
13. Mobilizing Kingston with Action-Ready Answers to Create the Climate Future We All Want – May 3
14. Foraging for the Seasons – April 29
15. Kingston  By Bike’s Fun Tours
16. Kingston’s New Report “Focus on Environmental Sustainability

17 Cataraqui Conservation Watershed Report Card, 2023
18. Reducing Fashion Waste
19. Native Forests: The Landscaping that Cities Need
20. Classic Paintings Reveal Atmospheric Reality of Industrial Revolution 
Great Lakes Freshwater Politics – Minister Guibeault
22. Shipping in the Great Lakes: What You Need to Know

23.Should you Schedule Sex or Should it be Spontaneous?
24. Best Time to Play Roll Up the Rim to Actually Win
25. Stressed-out Plants Don’t Suffer in Silence
26. COVID 19 Ageism in Canada
27. Overemphasis on Safety Means Kids are Becoming more Anxious and Less Resilient
28. Meatball Made from Wooley Mammoth
29. Ocean Fertilization
30. Interesting Historical Perspective on the Housing Crisis

1. Friends of Queen Street Concerns about the Developer’s New Proposal

Received from the Friends of Queen Street. April 9, 2023 (
Deadline for Action Tues Apr 17 prior to Council meeting.

“The developer has submitted a new proposal which claims to address concerns from staff and residents. In our opinion, it does not. Some minor gains have been made including a reduction in the height of the podium and some increased street setbacks. However, this remains a massive development in an already dense residential neighbourhood in desperate need of affordable housing. Here are our main concerns:there’s no affordable housing, only an undisclosed financial contribution to a local affordable housing providerthe tower is 15 storeys plus another partial storey for the mechanical penthouse and other rooftop elements rising to 51.7 m and dominating the mostly one and two storey neighbouring buildings.our new zoning by-law allows for 4-6 storeys on this sitethe change in density is astronomical – from the allowed 123 units per hectare to 1,022 unitsthe setback from Barrie Street is only 0.5 metresthe original proposal had 227 units with 291 bedrooms, the new proposal has 200 units with 308 bedrooms there are 37 parking spots for 200 units and only 3 accessible parking spots instead of the required 6. It looks like 10 are on Barrie Street from the picture but this is unclear and leads one to question how spots on Barrie can be desginated for residents in this building only.there is no mention of street tree plantingthere is no mention of the impact on surrounding heritage buldingsYou can read the revised proposal at  and find all related documents dated April 4th on DASH
Imminent Settlement
We know that a settlement is in the works between the developer and the City. 275 Queen was on the in-camera meeting agenda on Tuesday, April 4th. Nothing was reported from that closed meeting at the public meeting of Council that followed. We believe that the developer’s new 15+ storey proposal is the basis for the staff recommendation to Council which will be posted on April 13th.
Our lawyer was not consulted even though the Ontario Land Tribunal encouraged all parties to negotiate.
Councillors will be voting on the proposed settlement in an open session of Council on Tuesday, April 18th. We need Council to instruct staff to speak to FoQSK before voting. This new development proposal is still not acceptable to the community and the neighbours.
Actions to TakeEmail specific changes you want to see to this proposal to the email list below.Copy Friends of Queen Street at and insist that FoQSK be included in settlement talks.Attend the April 18th Council Meeting and bring 10 friends with you! Packing the council chambers will be an important way to show you care. 
Here are points raised by Mike Cole-Hamilton in his letter to Mayor and Council:

The revised proposal is no improvement on the previous one.   Instead of 16 storeys it is 15 storeys and 51.4m. The Capitol Condos are 28.5m high.The 5 storey podium is reduced to 3 storeys.   While lower, the Shade and Wind effects (below) remain.The permitted density on the site is now 123 units per hectare. The proposal is 1,022 units per hectare – over 700% moreThe developer proposes to make a cash donation of $300,000 to Lionhearts for it to provide some affordable housing.  There is none in the proposed development.The setbacks from the sidewalks and remaining buildings are minimal.The proposed building will cast significant shade on the neighbourhood – see “A. Shade”, below.The proposed building will, in conjunction with nearby Princess Towers, cause significant local wind effects – see “B. Wind”, below.The proposed building will overpower, visually and architecturally, an older low-rise neighbourhood and park.This development is before the Ontario Land Tribunal.    Friends of Queen Street Kingston is a party at the Tribunal but has been left out of these discussions. 
2. Public Art in Kingston’s Downtown and Heritage Districts
Received from the Frontenac Heritage Foundation, Sat, April 8, 2023
What: Talk “Public Art in Kingston: Focusing on historic downtown and heritage districts” followed by Q&A
Who: Taylor Norris, Public Art Coordinator, City of Kingston, sponsored by the Frontenac Heritage Foundation
Where: Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (RCHA) 193 Ontario St. second floor
When: Doors open at 7 pm.
FREE! All Welcome!
3. Interesting Your T.V Series about Kingston Housing called “Division Street”
Received from Sayidda Jaffer of YKG Housing News, Apr 13
Here is the link to Jamie Swift interviewing Clara Langley from Mutual Aid Katarakwi Kingston (MAKK)’s Unhoused Solidarity Group and their work with people who are unhoused.

4Spring Collection of Household Batteries – April 17 – 21
Received from The Kingstonist, April 11 – Jessica Foley,
The City of Kingston’s curbside household battery collection will take place the week of Apr. 17 to 21, 2023. Residents are asked to place their used single-use household batteries out for collection in a clear, sealed plastic bag beside their curbside waste on their regular collection day.
“Never put batteries in the garbage. We hold this collection during the spring-cleaning season to help remind you it’s time to properly dispose of dead single-use batteries as you get your home ready for the change in season,” said Adam Mueller, Supervisor of Solid Waste Disposal.
The best place for the bag of used batteries is on the ground beside your recycling box or next to another curbside waste container where it can be easily seen by a collector, according to a release from the City. Car, tool, and other types of large batteries will not be collected.
Batteries can also be dropped off any time at one of these locations:

  • City Hall, 216 Ontario St.
  • INVISTA Centre, 1350 Gardiners Rd.
  • Kingston Area Recycling Centre (KARC), 196 Lappan’s Lane

The battery collection is in partnership with E360 Solutions. Find a list of additional drop-off locations at or

 5. Indigenous Food Sovereignty Garden coming to City Park
Received from the Kingstonist, April 10, 2023 – Owen Fullerton
Kingston Indigenous Languages Nest (KILN) will soon be building a new community garden in City Park.
The garden will be the first one owned by KILN itself, with the organization previously borrowing space for on-the-land programming from community partners like Walking the Path of Peace Together, who operate an Indigenous food sovereignty garden on a plot of land next to Highway 15.
Working alongside KILN, the City of Kingston called for community consultation last summer to see what people thought of building two smaller vegetable and medicine gardens at the edge of City Park along King Street, near the former site of Sir John A Macdonald’s statue. KILN’s Executive Director Constance Carriere-Prill said that consultation resulted in what KILN will now be building and operating in City Park: a larger garden located centrally in the large downtown park.
“Some of the feedback came back and said: why can’t it be bigger?” Carriere-Prill said. 
“So looking at that feedback is sort of when we went back to the drawing board and said why don’t we think bigger on this? We wanted to make sure we’re providing something that the community was excited about and could engage in.”
In working with the City, KILN identified City Park as an accessible, central location with plenty of space available and further room to grow in years to come. Given its proximity to a number of elementary schools, Queen’s Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre, and the Tipi Moza housing complex, the park also made a lot of sense to encourage outreach….
Full article?

6. Just Recovery News Update
Received from Jeremy Milloy, April 11, 2023 
“Dear Just Recovery people,
Thanks to everyone who came out to the Spire last week and made our first CONNECTIONS meeting a big success! We had ~20 ppl around the table and informative updates from SCAN, MAKK, and KHC.

Our next meeting will be Wednesday, April 19, at 12 PM. This one will take place online (on Zoom – the link to join is below).
Please reply if you would like to provide an update from your group/campaign/project at the April 19 meeting.

It’s great that we have a lot of new ppl on this JRK email. If you want to learn more about Just Recovery Kingston, please check out our principles and terms of engagement on our website

and read the recent editorial we wrote about the city’s strategic plan
in solidarity,

Jeremy (he/him) is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Just Recovery Kingston – CONNECTIONS
Time: Apr 19, 2023 12:00 PM America/Toronto
Join Zoom Meeting

7. S.S. Keewatin Readies for Voyage to Kingston
Received from the Kingston Whig Standard, Apri 14 –  Elliott Ferguson
PORT McNICOLL — The passenger steamer SS Keewatin should begin its months-long trip to Kingston later this month.
Volunteers in the small town on the shore of Georgian Bay have been busy packing up hundreds of artifacts on board, everything from furniture to paintings to fixtures.
As the ice clears from the surrounding waters, preparations are underway for the ship to be towed to a shipyard in Lake Ontario for renovations before being moved to its new home in the dry dock at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston.
“You have to remember, everywhere you step on this ship, that it is five years older than the Titanic,” Eric Conroy of the Friends of the Keewatin said.
Walking up one of the ship’s gang planks, Conroy entered the area that used to carry more than 30 vehicles on voyages from Port McNicoll to Thunder Bay between 1907 and 1965.
For now, the area is being used to store items for the upcoming trip to Kingston.
The Keewatin is the last Great Lakes passenger liner and the last of the Edwardian-era passenger liner steamships in the world.
Full article?

Not without controversy however:
Received from The Kingstonist Apr 5 – Michelle Dorey Forestell
The SS Keewatin is coming to Kingston, though not without a bit of drama. But really, what else would one expect of a Titanic-era steamship?
The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes (MMGL), along with local media, received an open letter on Thursday, Mar. 23, 2023, addressed “To the Wonderful People of Kingston, Ontario, From your friends and neighbors [sic] in Port McNicoll,” sent by a group that calls itself “Keep Keewatin Home.”
Among other things, the letter accuses the MMGL of “working headlong to deprive us of our most loved historic possession” and states that MMGL has “signaled [sic] its intention to appropriate a 116-year-old historical vessel from the small Ontario community from which it once sailed, and whose residents have lovingly restored and maintained it over the last decade.” The letter even goes so far as to call the move “an abhorrent act — the unjust appropriation of cultural and heritage property.”
Full Article?

8. Heads Up for This Year’s Jane’s Walks – May 5-7
May 5, 6, and 7: Jane’s Walks Festival Kingston
Put your walking shoes on. After the COVID break, Jane’s Walk Weekend is back with a fabulous slate of 16 different walks – something for everyone. Jane’s Walk is a global movement of free, citizen-led local walks inspired by legendary urbanist Jane Jacobs. The walks are led by community volunteers who have an interest in the neighbourhood where they live, work or hang out. They may focus on architecture and heritage, or they may be a personal take on the social history or planning issues of a neighbourhood. Jane’s Walk encourages people to discover unseen aspects of their own communities and use walking as a way to connect with their neighbours.
Locations: Various sites throughout Kingston
Times: Various times throughout the weekend, rain or shine
Fee: Free
For Details:
For Updates:  put your name on our MailChimp list
FKIH EDITOR’S NOTES:  River First YGK will be conducting a walk on the east side of the Great Cataraqui River on the Friday evening. The Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour will be doing an Inner Harbour tour on the Saturday morning focusing on past history, current development proposals at the Woolen Mill, and the federal government’s proposed 70 million dollar “clean-up”. The Kingston Coalition for Active Transportation will be doing a bike tour of the K&P Trail  on Saturday starting at noon discussing possible future trails as part of the North King’s Town Secondary Plan as well as the proposed pedestrian and cycling bridge over John Counter and the railway connecting Kingscourt with Rideau Heights as well as the two sections of the trail east and west of Division.  More details in the May newsletter.

9. Styrofoam along the Inner Harbour Shoreline
As many of you know, there is an ongoing problem with Styrofoam along the shoreline. This has been well documented by Carl Hanna over the past few years. Visit the River First YGK Facebook page to see many pictures of this disaster. The curtains were chewed by muskrats and the devastation has been and continues to be huge. Carl and Randy Cadue have met with staff but the Styrofoam continues to be problematic.Here is the most recent e-mail from the Third Crossing Team received April 11:

Hello everyone,
The project team restarted Styrofoam collection last week along the west shoreline north of the bridge. Two affected areas up- and downstream from the bridge along the east and west shorelines were identified after a walk with the project team and two community members last week..
Crews are continuing work this week to complete foam clean-up in these affected areas. Please see the attached document for a map and photos of the clean-up progress as of last Thursday, April 6.
(FKIH NOTE:Maps, not included in this newsletter, show that the first phase is to be along the western shoreline from north of the Waaben Crossing to an unidentified point at the south end.)
We are testing several options for modifying the end caps on the curtain floats to stop any further foam release. Once we have a suitable option, we will make that change as quickly and carefully as possible. 
We will send another update early next week with the results of this week’s efforts. We share your concerns about protecting the waterway and are committed to completing this work thoroughly and safely.
Thank you,
Waaban Crossing team 

10. David Tannery Hearing Scheduled for January 2024
Received from the Kingstonist Apr 6 – Michelle Dorey Forestell
The Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) held a Case Management Conference on Friday, Apr. 5, 2023 to set rules and a date to hear Jay Patry Inc.’s appeal of City Council’s refusal to amend the Official Plan to allow his proposed development of the Davis Tannery lands.
This was the first Case Management Conference since the Appellant, Jay Patry Inc. (aka 2606609 Ontario Inc.), filed appeals against Kingston City Council’s refusal to approve its Official Plan Amendment application and its Zoning By-law Amendment application under s.17(36) and s.34(11) of the Planning Act respectively. The property is municipally known as 2 River Street.
A Case Management Conference is a hearing event, held prior to the hearing on the merits, which provides the Ontario Land Tribunal with the opportunity to identify parties and participants, identify or narrow the issues, identify facts that may be agreed upon, provide directions for disclosure and exchange of information, and set the date for the hearing.
Today’s Case Management Conference was mainly focused on setting the parameters for the participation of No Clearcuts Kingston, (see the active environmental protection citizens group from Kingston, which was granted party status in this Ontario Land Tribunal hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023.
Party status gives the group the full right to participate in the hearing, including presenting evidence and cross-examining witnesses. No Clearcuts Kingston is being represented by Richard Lindgren, a staff lawyer at the Canadian Environmental Law Association.

11. Pitch-In Week – Sustainable Kingston
Received from the Kingstonist March 30 – Jessica Foley 
Sustainable Kingston, in cooperation with the City of Kingston’s Solid Waste and Public Works departments, has announced that Pitch-In will return again this spring.
Taking place over the week of April 17 to 23, and coinciding with Earth Day on April 22, Pitch-In hopes to engage hundreds of volunteers in a community-wide clean-up, Sustainable Kingston noted in a media release.
Sustainable Kingston’s Chief Operating Officer, Geoff Hendry, is thrilled to build on the success of last year’s event. “Thanks to hundreds of individuals, businesses and organizations, we had a great turnout in 2022,” Hendry said. “I’m optimistic we can build on this and pick up even more litter this Spring.”
For Hendry, the event is also an opportunity to engage Kingston residents in a conversation about waste while collecting a significant amount of trash over the span of a week. “Pitch-In really drives home the need to reduce the amount of trash we throw out overall,” he expressed
This year, individuals, schools, organizations and businesses can register online at: A list of drop locations and a Pitch-In FAQ are also available at
According to the release, Pitch-In bags will be available to be picked up at the KARC Centre at Kingston Area Recycling Centre (196 Lappan’s Lane), and Kingston Public Works (701 Division Street). Bags will also be available at the Kingston and Area Real Estate Association Office (720 Arlington Park Place). Sustainable Kingston noted that if participants are unable to access Pitch-In bags, they may use their own.
For more information about how organizations can participate, contact Geoff Hendry, Manager of Communications and Business Development at Sustainable Kingston at

12. John Counter Blvd. Pedestrian Bridge: Connecting Kingscourt, Rideau Heights, and the K&P

Through its Get Involved program, the city is seeking feedback on the placement and design of a pedestrian/cycle bridge over John Counter Boulevard and the adjacent train tracks for the K and P trail. This will replace the existing difficult route through the Division St/ John Counter Blvd intersection. For information on the proposal and to contribute feedback, use the following link.
Also see

13. Mobilizing Kingston with Action-Ready Answers to Create the Climate Future We All Want 
Thanks so much James Brown for this.
Paul Hawkin’s new book “Regeneeration: Ending the climate crisis in one generation” is wonderful as was his 2017 book “Drawdown”.
He is optimistic. He offers solutions.
This webinar, focused on Kingston, is important.
Join moderator Dan Hendry with Kingston Frontenac Public Library, Sustainable Kingston, and community friends as we present Dr. Jonathan Foley, Executive Director of Project Drawdown, the world’s leading resource for climate solutions.
The Drawdown Roadmap illuminates a climate-solutions path for individuals, homes, neighbourhoods, cities, states, provinces, businesses, service clubs, non-profits, investors and governments.
Every decision we make is a climate decision. What we choose to eat, how we transport ourselves, how we manage our homes, what we buy, how we work, and what work we choose. We don’t need perfect decisions. We do need BETTER decisions. It’s our time for action.
Zoom May 3 at 6 pm EST.
To register:

14. Foraging For the Seasons – April 29
What: Presentation and Outdoor Exploration with Sheila Nemcsok
We are surrounded by a wide variety of wild edible foods in our city.  Join Sheila Nemcsok, an avid hobby forager, for some hands-on learning about safely and sustainably identifying, collecting and using at least 10 wild foods that are locally available and in season. Whether you are interested in improving your food self-sufficiency, expanding your range of culinary ingredients, or just interested in learning more about the plant life in our city, this workshop is for you. 
Where: Public Library, Isabel Turner Branch, Cataraqui Room
When: Saturday, April 29, 1:00pm – 3:00pm
NOTES:Come prepared for some classroom time, as well as an outdoor walk to look at specific edible plants including dandelion, garlic mustard, burdock and cattail in the grounds surrounding the Isabel Turner Library.  This portion will be cancelled in cases of extreme weather. 
All Welcome! Teens, New Adults, Adults, Seniors

15.  Kingston By Bike’s Fun Local Tours
If you live here or are visiting Steve Lawrence invites you to partake of his fun bike tours of the city and surrounding countryside. You will see and learn about many things of natural and cultural interest. Steve promises an enjoyable and memorable experience. Come by yourself or with a small group.
Go to to book a tour or contact him directly at

16. Kingston’s New Report “Focus on Environmental Sustainability”
Citizens of Kingston have been waiting since 2009 for this report. It’s finally here – entitled Focus on Environmental Sustainability! Originally it had been hoped that some sort of ongoing scorecard could be included as part of the report which doesn’t seem to be the case. But this is a great first step towards that. This report has been accepted by the Kingston Environmental Advisory Forum and will then go to the Environment, Infrastructure and Transportation Policies committee (EITP) before reaching Council. A number of community members are reaching out with comments.  More anon…..
17. Cataraqu Conservation Watershed Report Card, 2023

18. Federal Budget Addresses Right to Repair Rules
18. Reducing Fashion Waste
Canadians are throwing away up to 500 million kilograms of clothing each yeara study from the University of Waterloo shows,but one expert says there are sustainable ways to get rid of clothing.
We buy 60 per cent more clothes today than we did 20 years ago, and we keep them for half as long,” said Kelly Drennan, founder of Fashion Takes Action, a non-profit organization advocating for sustainability. “So the fast fashion and overconsumption is what’s fueling all of this clothing ending up in the landfill.” Speaking on CTV’s Your Morning on Monday, Drennan gave some tips on how Canadians can donate clothing to ensure it does not end up in the landfill and how to repurpose old textiles.
If you can see these images, the result of clothing covering parts of Chili’s Atacama desert is truly heartwrenching.

19. Native Forests: The Landscaping that Cities Need

And this,232,598

20. Classic Paintings Reveal Atmospheric Reallity of Industrial Revolution

21. Great Lakes Freshwater Politics – Minister Guibeault
Thanks Jeffrey Giacomin for this. Received April 3

22. Marine Shipping in the Great Lakes: What You Need to Know
Received March 31,

23. Should you Schedule Sex or Should it be Spontaneous?

Received from the Conversation, April 4

24. Best Time to Play Roll Up the Rim to Actually Win Received April 4

25. Stressed out Plants Don’t Suffer in Silence  Received April 6

26. COVID- 10 Ageism in Canada
Thanks to Martine Bresson for this, received April 10

27. Overemphasis on Safety Means Kids are Becoming More Anxious and Less Resilient
Received from The Conversation, April 10, 2023

28. Meatball Made from Wooly Mammoth  Received Apr 4

29. Ocean Fertilization
Received from Freethink, April 13 – Kristin Hauser
Scientists want to dump iron nanoparticles into the oceans to save the planet
Engineered nanoparticles could make ocean fertilization a viable weapon in the battle against climate change.

30. Interesting Historical Perspective on the Housing Crisis.
Thanks Peter Walker for this summary

A New York Times article with an interesting perspective……
For those who cannot pierce the paywall, the text…..
It’s Herbert Hoover’s fault. In the early 1920s, as a reform-minded secretary of commerce, Hoover wanted to bring order to America’s chaotic cities and towns, where a lack of controls on land use allowed grimy factories, livery stables and the like to spring up in residential neighborhoods. He convened a committee that drafted a model act encouraging state governments to authorize local governments to do something new: zoning.
Hoover’s brainchild soon became a plague whose effects continue to be felt today. Local governments figured out that they could use zoning to achieve racial segregation. Suburbs adopted exclusionary zoning that prohibited the building of the least costly forms of housing, not just to keep out racial minorities, but also to boost local housing values and save on the costs of educating poor children. Localities lack incentives to take into account the impact of their policies on people who live elsewhere. Growth in the most economically vibrant regions, such as Silicon Valley, is constrained by a lack of housing for employees. People end up trapped in places with more affordable housing but no work.
This tale is well told by Robert Ellickson, a professor emeritus at Yale Law School, in his book “America’s Frozen Neighborhoods: The Abuse of Zoning.” It’s a valuable contribution to the growing movement against NIMBYism: “Not in My Backyard.” Although the book came out last year, I just got around to reading it, and I learned a lot, not just about Herbert Hoover.
Ellickson isn’t against all zoning. He supports the preservation of open spaces and historic buildings, within reason, as well as keeping noxious activities away from homes. But it has gone too far.
The most important word in the book is “frozen.” Ellickson quotes from the 1992 edition of Jane Jacobs’s book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”: “The purpose of zoning … should not be to freeze conditions and uses as they stand. That would be death.”
Yet that’s what has happened, Ellickson writes. Once a neighborhood is zoned for single-family detached homes, it almost always stays that way, even when a city’s growth makes such low density inefficient. Los Angeles permits the building of only detached houses on 75 percent of its residentially zoned land; Chicago, 79 percent. First, those detached houses are built to last. Second, “the politics of local zoning almost invariably works to freeze land uses, especially in a neighborhood of detached houses,” he writes. “This is a significant finding, not yet part of urban lore. I chose the title of the book to emphasize it.”
It doesn’t have to be this way. France, “hardly a nation averse to regulation,” in 2014 prohibited its municipalities from setting minimum lot sizes for houses, Ellickson writes. Within the United States, he approvingly cites land-use rules in Texas, focusing on the northwestern portion of the capital, Austin. It matches up well with the other two places he analyzes: Silicon Valley and the environs of New Haven, Conn., the home of his university, Yale. Home prices aren’t as high in greater New Haven as in Silicon Valley, but that’s because job growth is weaker; zoning restrictions there are even tighter than they are in Silicon Valley, he writes.
Austin is a blue splotch of liberalism in a mostly red state. But Ellickson writes that being pro- or anti-zoning doesn’t line up neatly with political preference. Some liberals oppose increased housing density because they feel development harms the environment, or don’t want to reward “greedy” landlords. Others favor it because it lowers housing costs for the poor. And so on. (Read David Brooks’s Thursday column for more on the politics.)
People who choose to stay in Austin or move to the city are probably more likely than someone in a New Haven suburb to buy into the idea that higher density in cities is good, Ellickson writes. There are also institutional factors. In Texas, a central city can veto the incorporation of a nearby suburb. That prevents unincorporated areas from forming new cities with restrictive zoning, which happened in Silicon Valley. And school district boundaries don’t follow city lines, so loosening zoning doesn’t automatically raise costs by causing an influx of low-income students to the schools.
Ellickson praises the Biden administration for trying to weaken exclusionary zoning. This week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced $98 million in grants to jurisdictions that remove barriers to affordable housing developments. It’s also offering $10 million to support local planning efforts. Ellickson also cites the Harvard economist Edward Glaeser, who has suggested that the federal government could tie highway grants to the level of housing construction in high-demand areas.
But Ellickson argues that given the U.S. tradition of strong states’ rights, the states will have to play a bigger role than the federal government in breaking down local zoning restrictions. Most states have the power to pre-empt local zoning laws, he notes.
Ellickson cites economic research by a variety of scholars, including The Times’s own Paul Krugman, showing that bigger cities are more productive. Even apart from fairness considerations, that alone is a strong argument for breaking down exclusionary zoning that suppresses growth.
“States should correct Hoover’s error,” Ellickson concludes. “Leviathan can do mischief at city hall. Excessive home rule has damaged the nation.”

So that’s it for April.
Mary Farrar, President,
Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour