So as is to be expected, there are some firebreathing opponents of the Brookland small area plan calling for blood today. They’re really ticked, and they’re certain that the DC Council’s decision yesterday has condemned their properties to significant depreciation (that’s depreciation on top of the depreciation everyone is facing these days).
I obviously think this is absurd. One only has to look at the rowhouses on Kenyon Street in NW between 13th and 14th (immediately adjacent to the DC USA development), or at the single-family Arlington homes a block or two away from Clarendon to see that these folks have just struck it rich. They have big beautiful houses that are about to be steps away from quality retail. In ten years or so, they’ll be counting their money when they sell, if they can bear to walk away from their newly vibrant, pedestrian friendly neighborhood.
Which makes me wonder, is there a market for NIMBY insurance? That is, I’d love to collect tiny premiums from residents looking at potential development near their homes, in exchange for which I’d take responsibility for the change in value of their home relative to homes outside of the directly affected area. If their property does poorly relative to other homes, then I’d shell out for the difference, either at an agreed upon time after development or upon sale. If it does better, well, the gain would accrue to me.
A city that was confident that it was developing well could even offer this kind of service at a deep discount relative to what the private market would likely ask. It might help combat knee-jerk opposition to development plans, and since NIMBYs seem, to me, to be bad at gauging the effect of development on their property values, it would be a nice source of revenue. And of course, if the government ended up being totally wrong, homeowners would be protected.
What’s wrong with my scheme? Tell me in comments.