Independent developer Doug Kaplan details the outrageous bureaucratic and regulatory hurdles small developers must pass in order to build private projects in Simplify, Don’t Subsidize: The Right Way to Support Private Development. Kaplan details his attempts to build a shopping center in Santa Cruz County, Calif., as a small independent developer. He argues that the amount of paperwork and fees that go along with each of the intricate regulatory steps to build and renovate in Santa Cruz actually stifles efforts to bring economic development to local communities.
Kaplan shares his company’s navigation through Santa Cruz County’s “ever-expanding gauntlet of government-imposed regulatory, administrative and financial obstacles” in order to build a small commercial building in Capitola, Calif. Through his experiences in Capitola and elsewhere, Kaplan has found that “more often that not, local governments don’t ‘catalyze’ private development; they drive it away by making it too expensive.”
“Today, a private developer faces a difficult choice: Go into business with the local development agency, or go it alone, at great cost and peril,” Kaplan argues. “If cutting taxes, reducing fees and streamlining regulations benefits government’s public/private partners, then think what miracles could occur if government did the same for everyone,” he concludes. “Do less to us and watch us have fun taking care of the rest.”