Zoning laws and other restrictions that aim to keep children out of an area or neighborhood.
Some communities that may not want to increase their school-age population can embrace the elderly. That is socially acceptable, and because the federal Fair Housing Act allows senior-citizen developments to prohibit younger residents, it is legally acceptable. The fast-growing western suburbs of Boston, for example, are scrambling for developments with age restrictions and otherwise engaging in what one legislator calls "vasectomy zoning."
Laura Mansnerus, "Great Haven for Families, But Don't Bring Children," The New York Times, August 13, 2003
Indeed, a number of cities across the country ... are implementing curbs on development and devising zoning rules to discourage or at least slow the growth of student populations, including age-restricted developments, bigger homes, larger lot sizes, requirements to have master bedrooms on the first floor and similar strategies. (Older homeowners unlikely to have kids don't like running up and down stairs). More affluent households tend to have fewer kids, and often it's older, more settled couples without children at home who can afford more expansive homesteads.
Their homes provide hefty tax revenues, but often have few or no children requiring a costly public school education.
The latest catch phrase for this kind of development strategy is "vasectomy zoning." It's crude, but pretty much telegraphs intent.
O.K. Carter, "School districts, cities lack common goals," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 21, 2002
"Those families with kids have to move somewhere," said Richard Paul, a retired schoolteacher who voted against a proposed age-restricted housing law that was defeated at the recent Framingham Town Meeting. "When I went to the public schools, the system existed for me. When my children went to the public schools, the system existed for them. And I think it's society's responsibility to educate the children who come after them."
State Senator David Magnani (D-Framingham) decries local laws that prohibit families with children, calling it "vasectomy zoning."
Jonathan Saltzman, "Seniors-only trend grows as school enrollments climb," The Boston Globe, June 30, 2002
This phrase has spawned a related term: vasectomy housing, which refers to houses or apartments that are too small to raise children:
Federal discrimination laws prohibit developers from establishing "kid-free" buildings unless they're designated to sell only to people 55 or older. So developers, spurred on by cash-crunched community officials, have a new plan: go into suburban towns and build one- and two-bedroom units that are too small for families but too expensive for recent college grads.
Lest anyone think the child-free nature of these developments is a coincidence, consider the pet name given to the phenomenon: "vasectomy housing."
Carlene Hempel, "No kids, please," The Boston Globe, February 22, 2004