Noah’s Ark and California’s new surplus

June 1, 2013

 

If Noah’s Ark was built in California today Noah most likely would have failed to complete the vessel within the required timeline. State and local governments would have required all plans to be up to code. The ark would have been a non-conforming use, therefore Noah would most likely have been required to submit an application for a conditional use permit (CUP) and subjected to public hearings.

Even if Noah made it through the CUP hearings he would have massive building rules that would include requirements based on use and occupancy, Title 24 (Energy Calculations), ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), and a wide range of other requirements related to fire, life and safety.

Most planning and building requirements are good and necessary for the safety and quality of depreciating improvements placed upon our lands in California and other states in the union. But it’s clear other states have better plans on how to administer and regulate fees and impacts affecting applicants wishing to build and set up shop. A smart opportunity should be realized by state and local government officials on how to streamline the process affecting our ability to grow in a sustainable way. Noah was reportedly 500 years old when he started the construction of the ark.

The ark took more than 120 years to build, which means Noah was 620 years old before the first animal walked on board. Noah lived to 950 years of age.

“So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around.

Put a door in the side of the arkand make lower, middle and upper decks.” Genesis 5:32-10:1.

This was it: God’s programing requirements for the ark.

Making California more efficient California’s good fortune of a substantial revenue surplus has sparked a big debate over what should be done with the reported $4.4 billion in surplus. Social programs and schools have realized large cuts as the California Legislature has struggled to rein in spending when the state was faced with a $60 billion deficit less than three years ago. As I have stated in a previous column, “regardless of how and from where revenue flows, without prudent self-control and fiscal responsibility we will not recover in a sustainable way into the future.”

It still isn’t clear if the state’s good fortune is a new-found result of economic recovery mixed with tax increases, or onetime capital gains based on federal policy.

Whichever way the revenue falls into the state’s coffers you can bet most folks in Sacramento will find ways to spend it. The best direction is to continue to find ways to make California more efficient; streamlining wasteful programs and finding ways to function more successfully with less government and policies that would allow more businesses willing to open shop in this state with stronger incentives to operate successfully. Growth will continue to be hampered by overreaching regulations and permitting processes that affect the business environment in California.

Departments such as Division of the State Architect (DSA) and the State Water Resource Board’s regulation and permitting of all required Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) at the state level should be abolished or retooled to reduce redundancies that impede efficiency and purpose at the local government level.

Buildings today are not designed or built to last 120 years before occupancy, with state design and regulatory requirements we experience today, it’s unlikely Noah would have completed the ark within his lifetime.

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