Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 12, 2017

Closing loopholes

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

From City Lab and relevant to Alameda’s — on a whole — mistrust of all things residential development-y:

There are more than 100 bills before the California Legislature that address the state’s housing crisis, and a large share of them would crack down on communities that don’t do their part by facilitating the construction of new homes.

“In the last 10 years, California has built an average of 80,000 homes a year, far below the 180,000 homes needed a year to keep up with housing growth from 2015-2025,” the report says. “Without intervention, much of the population increase can be expected to occur further from job centers, high-performing schools, and transit, constraining opportunity for future generations.”

Dozens of the solutions floating in the state Legislature aim to address that supply problem, including several that would streamline the process by which housing projects get approved (one, for example, would limit the circumstances in which a special permit could be required to build a granny flat). Others would not-so-subtly make it much harder for local residents and government agencies to block new projects, like by requiring a two-thirds vote for any local ordinance “that would curb, delay, or deter growth or development within a city.”

And further to strengthen laws that current exist for which loopholes have been found:

California already has several laws on the books aimed at nudging localities to greenlight housing construction. One, the Housing Accountability Act, is even known as the Anti-NIMBY Act. But localities and residents have found ways around them. Many of the current proposals on the table either close loopholes opened by local governments, or add teeth to measures that some cities or neighborhoods have long ignored. A bill to strengthen the Housing Accountability Act, for instance, would even allow a court to authorize punitive damages against cities that act in bad faith. Another would set aside funds specifically for the state attorney general to enforce existing housing laws.

As suggested by the piece, the punitive laws may be preferable to local officials since the biggest roadblock are always the concerned citizens.  If a city can point to a punitive law rather than simply abiding by a good faith RHNA or something, then there should be less pushback.  But of course we all know that there will always be that one grandstanding official that will force the other members of an elected and/or appointed body to make the hard decisions so that they can appease their base.

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3 Comments »

  1. Sanctuary citys part two. Trump and Brown making us great whether we like it or not.

    Comment by jack — May 12, 2017 @ 7:28 am

  2. Well, it’s true. It’s sort of hypocritical to declare yourself a sanctuary city where everyone is welcome and then say no to housing.

    Comment by Laura Thomas — May 12, 2017 @ 7:57 am

  3. A recent lawsuit alleging that Lafayette had violated the state’s Housing Accountability Act by approving a smaller single-family housing development in 2015 rather than a larger apartment complex was denied yesterday. The lawsuit in Lafayette sought to increase the East Bay city’s housing production.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2017/04/07/lafayette-housing-lawsuit-sfbarf-sonja-trauss.html

    Comment by Alan — May 12, 2017 @ 3:34 pm


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