Unintentional Redlining? Zoning Ordinances and the Living Wage

  • October 11, 2007
  • • Written by: Patricia S. Wall, JD, MBA, CPA, Ed.D 

Fall 2007, Vol. 32, No. 2

Abstract: Are city council proposals to raise the minimum wage for bigbox retailers within the limits of most cities a form of unintentional redlining, since the stores and associated jobs would migrate from lower-income sectors to peripheral areas? The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 outlawed the practice of “redlining,” in which lenders and insurers deny loans or insurance based on the applicant living in certain low-income areas rather than on the applicant’s qualifications for their services. Such rezoning could restrict or limit the use – or impose extra costs on the use – of certain property, unambiguously reducing the value of the real estate.