I love this song, but I think we've got it all wrong. Joni laments paving over the trees for a parking lot, but glosses over the hotel, the boutique, and the "swinging hot spot." Is it heresy to consider this appropriate land use? (Particularly if the hot spot is genuinely swinging.) And anyway, her real complaint is that her "old man" has walked out on her. The rest is just misdirection.
(As a footnote, the Counting Crows cover is the worst thing they've ever done.)