Columnist Adam Sullivan raises many important issues regarding Iowa City’s regulation of rental properties (“Rental housing issue re-emerges in the Iowa Legislature,” March 8). Reasonable people may disagree about the wisdom or efficacy of new restrictions on the number of rental permits allowed for different neighborhoods or the proper boundaries for such regulations. And reasonable stakeholders (renters, landlords, property owners, city council) may arrive at reasonable agreements that take everyone’s interests into consideration.
But in asking state legislators in Des Moines to override elected officials in the name of absolutist notions of “renters and property owners’ rights,” Sullivan negates the possibility for such agreements. Surely even an arch-libertarian such as Sullivan recognizes the need for some regulation of property use within a city — indeed he cites nuisance laws with approval in his column. So what is at issue is not a question of rights but of responsibilities and a community’s ability to manage its own affairs.