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Design review gives government power over personal taste

How much power does the bureaucracy yield over its citizens?

(This is part 3 of a three-part series. See Part 1 and Part 2.) Suppose you wanted to go out and buy yourself a new suit of clothes, or perhaps a new car. Now suppose that, after you'd chosen the one you liked, you had to appear before a board that would rule on whether it found your choice acceptable. If it didn't, you had to change your ideas until it was satisfied. Sound Orwellian? It isn't. This is essentially what a civic design review board is empowered to do. The only difference is that the dictated taste is that of your own home. As we saw in the last two columns, design review is an increasingly common civic institution under which buildings plans are evaluated, not just for adherence to health and safety codes as in the past, but also for aesthetic merit. Alas, in far too many jurisdictions, this arguably well-intentioned idea has mushroomed into a disgracefully intrusive process that throws roadblock after roadblock before anyone wishing to build a home or addition, never m...

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