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.
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!
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.”
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Neighborhoods with varying minimum lot sizes had “relatively modest differences” in diversity.
- 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.”
- California Realtors apologize for role in racist housing policy
- How L.A.’s sprawl fueled COVID deaths – Los Angeles Times
- In Pushing Affordable Housing Measures, Local Leaders Ask Voters to Contend With Racist Housing Law | KQED
- Builder’s remedy for cities’ NIMBYs – Daily News
- Commentary: Does Market Rate Housing Help with Affordability? | Davis Vanguard
- Newsom rejects every California city’s homelessness plan in stinging rebuke – POLITICO
- Fixing City Hall survey: Who supports reducing council members’ power over land-use decisions? – Los Angeles Times
- A climate reckoning for US housing: Too many homes in harm’s way, ‘too many zeros’ in the costs
- California homelessness: Newsom hits mayors- CalMatters
- Newsom campaigned on building 3.5 million homes. He hasn’t gotten even close
- From S.F. to Hawaii and beyond, housing costs are pushing people out of increasingly expensive cities
- Sharp homeownership spikes for Black, Asian and Latino families in 2021 – The Washington Post
- Large and inequitable flood risks in Los Angeles, California | Nature Sustainability
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