In The Matrix, citizens live in a fantasy world where every move is controlled by an omnipresent government. Enter Mohave County and its proposed land development matrix.
Last week, the Mohave County Planning and Zoning Commission approved the "Matrix" (their title, not ours) land development guidelines.
The Matrix is triggered when landowners subdivide their land, but it doesn't apply evenly. For example, subdivided parcels less than ten acres in size must be in a fire district, but if a parcel is ten acres or more, fire protection isn't required. Land parcels smaller than two acres must have direct access to a paved road, but if subdivided parcels are larger than two acres, a paved road isn't necessary. The list goes on.
At public hearings, citizens expressed strong opposition to the Matrix. As the Daily Miner noted, resident Carol Cullins pointed out that the Matrix would take away personal choice for citizens to live as they like. Landowners, not government bureaucrats, should "choose the situation in which they want to live."
Right on, Carol. The Arizona Constitution promises that government exists to protect individual rights, not abridge them. Liberalizing land-use laws and removing regulatory obstacles would go a long way toward that end.
Benjamin Barr is a constitutional policy analyst with the Goldwater Institute Center for Constitutional Studies.
-Goldwater Institute: "Playing the Takings Game: How Government Regulates Away Property Rights"
-Mohave County: MATRIX
- Daily Miner: "Zoners send matrix to Supervisors"
-Arizona Constitution, Article 2, section 2
-Arizona Constitution, Article 2, section 17