The Bane of Selective Zoning Enforcement and Governing based on Personality

schwit1 shared an article from Reason’s “Volokh Conspiracy” blog:

Nature’s Little Recyclers is a father-son business that does composting on empty residential lots, transforming organic waste into nutrient-rich soil. Last year, the business’s worms processed 10 tons of banana peels and cups from the Chicago Marathon that would otherwise have gone to a landfill. But Chicago officials are going to shut the business down — and not because the city doesn’t think composting is a good thing (the city’s sustainability website directs people to Nature’s Little Recyclers). Rather, the city’s business and zoning regulations weren’t designed to accommodate small and innovative operations like Nature’s Little Recyclers.

“None of these operations met the criteria for garden composting or an on-site organic waste composting operation,” said Anel Ruiz, spokesperson for the Department of Public Health, in a statement to Block Club Chicago, adding “Further, these sites are not properly zoned for commercial composting.”

But another perspective was shared by lawyer Amy Hermalik, associate director of the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago. “The city will unofficially imply there’s wiggle room, saying it only enforces certain ordinances against ‘bad operators,’ but that leaves businesses subject to shifting political winds or personal whims, Hermalik said. ‘They [the city] have an incredible amount of power to do as they please.'”

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