But how could the common areas in a street where homes sell for millions go for a relatively small sum? More to the point, how could it be sold at all? The answer goes back centuries and is a very American approach to an age-old question of the role of government.Well, no. It's not especially American and it's not typical. Reading the underlying Frisco newspaper article, it's clear that the street in question was NOT a public street. It was ALREADY part of a gated subdivision, owned by a homeowners association. The HOA neglected to pay property taxes, so the street was auctioned. The other cited examples are also atypical. A few bankrupt Democrat cities have been trying to sell streets to gain a little revenue, without much success. Why would Brits misunderstand this point? Because the public-private line is completely different in the two countries. The leasehold is a common and typical practice in Britain, and is actually growing recently after fading for decades. Homeowners don't own the land under their house; they lease it from the government. Brits see America as a place where private ownership is more prevalent, so private streets seem plausible. Later: It would be NICE if street-buying was actually common. Buying back the right-of-way would improve the private-ness and DEFENSIBLE SPACE of ownership. In most cities the frontmost 30 feet (or so) of your lot is technically street right-of-way, which you are obligated to maintain but forbidden to alter in certain ways. If the ROW contains a killer tree you're not permitted to save your life by cutting down the killer tree. The city can kill you any time it wants, and you have to load and maintain the murder weapon. On my tiny lot the ROW includes the front of my tiny house. Technically the demonic city could have prevented me from getting a new front door last year because the front wall is on their land. Fortunately they don't have enough money to run the all-consuming satanic tyranny they dream about.
Labels: defensible spaces
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.