Regulated Society Confronts Compassion in Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg homeowners are having a hard time with Codes. Construction is a heavily-regulated set of trades, and codes have grown by volumes since the ’60s. Re-building means “up to code” and despite the promises of aid and paving the way for people who lost homes to rebuild, these homeowners and their contractors are running up against the bureaucracy.

I am not writing this to argue that building codes should all be repealed. I am writing this to pick up on one comment made toward the end of the article. Summarizing the frustration of the owners, some of whom cannot afford to re-build according to code: “Some neighbors have already given up and sold their lots to contractors,” Rodney Mason said.

Every regulation that burdens the use of your property, or that controls the operation of your business imposes a cost, and makes the property worth less. These effects favor larger business operators who organize to manage the risk of over-regulation. In time, that cuts competition and it’s “the little guy” who gets cut out.