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In cities around the country, huge swaths of property in desirable locations house only empty warehouses, barely-used shipping facilities, and heavily subsidized industrial- age factories, often right across the street from high-end condos and office buildings. The reason is a widely-used, but poorly understood form of local industrial policy known as non-cumulative zoning. In contrast with traditional Euclidean zoning, in which manufacturing uses were prohibited in residential areas but not vice versa, areas that are zoned non-cumulatively allow only manufacturing uses and bar any residential (and sometimes even commercial uses) of property. The arguments for non-cumulative zoning are always the same: Cities seek to (a) reduce the degree to which urban manufacturers are held responsible for nuisance and (b) subsidize urban manufacturing by reducing the competition for land and hence reducing the price. In this Article, we argue that non-cumulative zoning is an idea whose time has passed, if there ever was a convincing case for it at all.
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