The Homework Newsletter

The HomeWork: November 10, 2022

November 10, 2022

Welcome to the November 10, 2022 Main edition of The Homework, the official newsletter of California YIMBY — legislative updates, news clips, housing research and analysis, and the latest writings from the California YIMBY team.

News from Sacramento

The legislature is still in adjournment, and will return the week of December 5 for a special session to consider a windfall tax on oil companies. Newly-elected legislators will also be sworn in during December. Regular session commences in January 2023. California YIMBY is deep in the process of formulating our legislative priorities for the next session – watch this space!

Housing Research & Analysis

An Rx for the Housing Shortage?

A new primer on California’s “builder’s remedy” by UC Davis law professor Chris Elmendorf explains the inner workings of a once-obscure state law that’s now making national headlines for potentially accelerating new housing in cities across the state: The “Builder’s Remedy.”

Key takeaways:

  1. When a city’s General Plan falls out of compliance with state-mandated Housing Element law, the Housing Accountability Act (HAA) and Housing Crisis Act of 2019 provide a “builder’s remedy” – i.e., a path for new homebuilding to proceed – by effectively suspending local zoning rules for all new housing, of any size, that has at least 20 percent low-income units, or 100 percent moderate-income units.

  2. This legal remedy has never been tested in court, and there are many uncertainties, particularly with respect to environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

  3. To address these ambiguities in the law, Attorney General Bonta and the state legislature should strengthen the builder’s remedy, and consider replacing it with a statewide density bonus for non-compliant jurisdictions.

More Homes = More Integrated Communities … and Vice-Versa

A new working paper from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University shows strong evidence of the relationship between exclusionary zoning and racial segregation in the Minneapolis–St. Paul region.

Key takeaways:

  1. Neighborhoods that were zoned exclusively for single-unit homes in the Twin Cities tended to have 21 percent fewer non-white residents compared to similar neighborhoods allowing multifamily housing, even after accounting for price differences.

  2. Neighborhoods with varying minimum lot sizes had “relatively modest differences” in diversity.

  3. Because these differences may largely be explained by racial disparities in homeownership, lawmakers “should take into account racial differences in tenure and ensure that housing types suited for both owner and rental occupancy are allowed in all neighborhoods.”

Houser Headlines

YIMBY Social – Top Posts

View our 2022 Legislative Scorecard!

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