We need this replicated across the country
By - DowninDowntown
F I N A L L Y
can't wait to see what the experts on Nextdoor think
Nextdoor is just mindbogglingly awful.
It's Cartman licking the tears off Scott Tenerman's face.
The social engineering enacted by these zoning regs has put California real estate beyond the reach of all but the rich. He needs to go much further to ameliorate our inequity.
*Proposition 13 has entered the chat*
Come on, prop 13 is just a transfer of money from the young and productive to the old and unproductive :)
Maybe if it were just for owner-occupied residential. Any member of a country club benefits due to Ship of Theseus preventing a reset and Bob Hope getting them to declare their "highest and best use" as open space.
Honestly, the next step should be to enact density/height *minimums* for land that’s within a 15 minute walk of a transit station.
This way we’re making optimal use of land that’s transit accessible, and can leave the lower density for places far from transit.
That's basically SB10, also just signed in to law.
Interesting, though i’d appreciate clarification on this part:
> SB 10 provides tools for local governments to zone for up to ten homes per parcel in transit-rich areas, or urban infill sites. SB 10 maintains local control, as a local legislative body must pass a resolution to adopt the plan.
What exactly are the tools they’re referring to, and how do they help local governments up zone for transit areas?
I think you're mixing up your SB10s. This SB 10 is good but...
I'm not sure that minimums are a great idea - that's how you end up keeping a parking lot near a transit station for many years, rather than getting a one or two story building that can provide a bit of foot traffic even before local economic conditions support a bigger building.
NIMBY don’t help either, but I very much agree. That said, I hate that politicians, who dictate zoning laws, have always been real estate agents and lawyers and have always tried to run a city like a business
Running a city like a business isn't a bad thing. It's measuring the services and products they create like a business that is the problem. We need efficiency in government, just not profit and loss.
Being fiscally responsible makes sense, but being efficient for zoning and urban form doesn’t. Turing a once one line two directional road with on-street parking into a high speed thoroughfare with what is called a ‘suicide lane’ to maximize traffic flow is efficient but extremely dangerous and poor design for the businesses that lined the street. Look up “Suicide lane 7th street Phoenix, AZ”
Ok but if you ran a city like a business you'd want to maximize taxable income per acre and you do that more efficiently with dense/walk-able cities. More traffic is incredibly inefficient. More roads = added expenses and area that you can't collect taxes from.
I guess it depends on how you define "efficiency." Walkable neighborhoods with mixed use are definitely more economically efficient, but less "cars per hour" efficient.
One of my greatest annoyances is how easy it is to see a local government unit vote to decrease its tax base and increase its operating expenditures by financing the construction of unnecessary emissions-orientated infrastructure.
If there is sufficient demand for a parking garage, the free market will provide.
People are just sources of income under capitalism. We and our lives have no intrinsic value.
What's wrong with running a city like a business
Huge win for California. I wish this would be possible to legislate at the federal level because I know many states won’t consider this but hopefully some more blue states will follow.
Bring this to Canada, please. It's a single MASSIVE step towards improving not just housing affordability, but quality of life in general.
Mixed-use is best use
Ten years too late for me, but great!!
Portland did it before it was cool
Hell, Oregon legalized fourplexes, with much fewer restrictions than CA's duplex bill.
Houston did it before Portland...no zoning at all.
>They do have regulations that do the exact same things that other cities call "zoning."
1. Those other cities get celebrated for merely no longer explicitly making illegal duplexes and triplexes in single family zones without addressing any of those other regulations, that they also have. Even though, nothing ever happens on the ground.
2. Houston has the lowest minimum lot size over the widest swatch of land, and allows any density level which means....
It is not remotely close to your typical zoning regulations of most cities.
I went to graduate school at Rice School of Architecture. I don't need a youtube video for a knowledge base...jesus...is this what we have come to?
Than what? Discourse is what we know and that there is no single button solution to things and the liberal stance on zoning has allowed the city lots of leeway in the way it constitutes to tackle the issues facing the city. If you go to a push button college then you are subscribing to ignorance in the veil of knowledge.
Do some reading - Albert Pope has some cogent thoughts
"As designers we sometimes approach the suburbs as a subclass
urbanism; it is as if we have a prejudice against our own production.
Given this prejudice it is impossible to mount a viable urban project,
because if you spend so much of your emotional energy in antagonism,
it eventually comes to define you. All ideologues suffer this fate. Consider
New Urbanism; their charter members spend an enormous effort
on a critique of megalopolis and the modern planning concepts that
produced it. Their essential motivation turns out to be a critique. In
this regard it is not surprising that when it comes time to provide an
alternative—to project as opposed to reject—all they can summon up is
nostalgic recovery of the urban past. This strategy defies common sense—
as all ideologies do—inasmuch as solutions to our urban problems today
cannot be found in the past, simply because these problems did not exist
in the past. Being ideologically predisposed to reject the urbanism of
the present is simply debilitating if not actually unprofessional. It is not
possible to project a viable tomorrow if we remain willfully blind to the
urbanism that we produce today."
Yeah. He is only one of the top scholars on urbanism in existence…but hey, Tess has a YouTube link. Hilarious.
Ah, the anti-intellectual stance. Let me know how your herbalist cures your cancer and Ivermectin cures COVID. You wouldn't want to take any experts advice. The youtube video is a freshman level planning exercise video using Houston as a topic vector. It is clumsy and not bounding in any discourse related to the actual response which was that of yours, not a lazy link you posted.
What’s a covenant restriction?
And it has reduced the need of off-street parking significantly since the article was written.
The just need to reduce their parking requirements and they'd be golden.
can't wait to hear what the NIMBYs gonna say
Looks like it doesn't really go far enough and there's a lot of stipulations and requirements but....it's something.
I feel like single-family is ok to be around as long as it’s build more sustainably (not too big, yards are eco friendly, closer together to save space) but should not be the norm, especially since sprawl is not fun.
Parking minimums, setbacks, etc. are all still in play too! Don't you love America?!
I see what you’re saying, but making single family homes more sustainable is just making them less bad. What really will be interesting are how the island cities 50+ miles from the urban core will look. And, what will really be the driving force to that will be the Electric vehicles become more ubiquitous, which will drastically drop the cost of transit. This cost (financial and opportunity) has previously encouraged people to live in more dense areas. But now we could be productive in our autonomous vehicle, connecting to Starlink that has been charged on our off the grid solar panel
I have a feeling that the infrastructure needs to be addressed if the current zoning would be applicable to a single family house. (x amount of people living in this specific lot). In theory you would be doubling the throughput on water, sewer, and traffic.
That’s not actually how it works because multi family housing uses less energy and water and it’s easier to run utilities to them. The traffic part is an issue but the increased density is necessary to make transit work in places like LA. Unfortunately the parking minimum bill got axed in committee.
>In theory you would be doubling the throughput on water, sewer, and traffic.
Under the same "theory" you would be cutting in half the required length pipe and roadway to provide the same service. Especially on the pipe, laying a 12" pipe is nowhere near twice as expensive as laying an 8" pipe, and adding a pump to existing pipes is significantly cheaper than laying greenfield pipe.
Not really. It's not like people who have a bunch of kids have to call the city to add more capacity to their pipes.
The reality is that the capacity of utilities that serve a single family home are usually much more than is required.
Meant to reply to a comment
sounds like a recipe for disaster
it will increase property values on existing homes, then when they scrape or build new properties they will be luxury apartment buildings/townhomes/rowhouses...its unlikely they will provide adequate parking or that the cities will provide adequate transit bus/train stations service ect. and then theres the issue of personal vehicles taking up all the existing street parking because there is limited residential parking. its just going to cause a bunch of problems. developers only build when there is profit to be made. the whole idea that you can out build demand is outdated. you have to deal with corporate investment companies, and just a shit ton of people moving to california. from 2010-2020 something like five million people moved there and they didnt move to rural areas, they moved to large cities.
as a result the cost of living is going to increase, not decrease.
it would make more sense to decentralize things, instead of having everyone commuting to a major city, incentivize business spreading out across the state. focus on mass transit instead of high density housing.
you are basically projecting at this point as the policies you support price the average person out of being able to afford housing.
>You are a terrible terrible terrible person, and want terrible things for people.
this is pretty much how i know your argument is back up by nothing.
The problem with decentralization like this is that it really drives the cost up. That compounds cost of construction materials, cost of maintenance, cost of labor to build, environmental cost, while also expanding the area of use (decreasing ridership per vehicle traveling to any one place.)
Also anytime you have new construction, the idea is that it outprices the old construction making the old construction more affordable. We're also living in a time when the demand for housing vastly overwhelms the supply which is a good reason why many urban centers are so over-priced. California is hoping here that in the areas that need higher density construction is not held up by regulatory zoning codes.
not sure why this is true at all...in california theres like 500 different cities. all it requires is for business to spread out among them, and have employees work more and more remotely. the infrastructure is already in place, it just needs support, repair and expanding...like everywhere else in the country.
the environmental cost associated to it would be significantly less compared to the ones associated to creating a high density urban environments in a major city.
Higher density areas means that much more things are closer to people. If you have more walkable and bikeable cities you have less people using cars and less people using transit to do things like go out to eat, or hang with their friends, or go to work if they work a non-remote job. Also one building servicing a hundred people is more efficient than a hundred buildings servicing one person each. Less energy is wasted (such as energy is lost when traveling across long power lines, air conditioning is using more energy cooling less people per sqft) and systems in larger buildings are better programmed so that they account for occupant loads and usage.
that only works in theory, it works in many european countries that have heavily invested in mass transit over the years in coordination with social welfare and other social programs...it doesnt really work in most american cities and states. it might work on the east coast in new york in densely populated areas. it might work in specific downtown areas of large cities that have existing subways, and existing mass transit systems that are fully fleshed out with extensive light rail.
it does not work for the bulk of american cities throughout the country.
the issue is that is generally always more convenient and cheaper to use a vehicle due to the distance needed to travel...again the u.s. is not europe. one example is our health care system, you want an appointment with a doctor sometime in this century you cant make an appointment with your primary care provider so you book an appointment with who ever but its out at another facility in another city, its not next month but next week. everything in the u.s. is spread out. the entire concept of high density urban walkable areas applied to the u.s. is broken. simply because it relies on a society that does not exist to support it.
you need to go shopping for something other than dinner for the night? need to go to a hardware store? need to take your pet to the vet? need to buy/transport furniture? need to do one a million other things? its not really happening unless you use a vehicle / spend a lot of money.
they are not investing infrastructure, the more they build high density housing in urban areas, the less space and room there will be, the less potential there will be for future development of mass transit infrastructure. the infrastructure needs to be there first.
an example of this, is that instead of increasing public easements when they build new construction they build to the property line to increase the amount of sq footage. sidewalks often shrink with new developments around highdenisty housing. then the city might come in and narrow the road a bit around intersections reduce parking to make it safer for pedestrians...remove a lane of traffic for a bicycle path. which increases traffic and congestion
they didnt actually improve infrastructure except maybe for bicyclists. and made the intersections maybe slightly safer for pedestrians.
except what would be needed would be a subway, the whole street ripped up, massive construction, a enormous undertaking, huge amounts of money no one has.
or you know common sense shit like increasing public easements on any new construction. but no city is going to do that cause someone has always got a hand is someone elses pocket.
you increase public easements, make sidewalks and roads wider, you can have plenty of room eventually for bike paths, pedestrian paths, bus lanes, pedestrian under and over paths, ect. whatever.
what you see happen now, is they ok a bunch of apartment buildings and they get out some yellow paint reduce lanes of traffic lower speed limits and call it good...and then pretended like they just invested in infrastructure.
It can work for other cities if they build denser and invest in more infrastructure. It's not they are not physically able to do so like it sounds like you are arguing. They can they just need more money to invest in their infrastructures and they get more money by having more taxpayers and they can get more taxpayers by having denser cities.
People will walk to shops and stores if they are nearby. It happens in higher denser areas.
Edit:I also saw you say on another comment that cities can't be denser if the city doesn't already have the infrastructure for it. They tend to be constantly improving their infrastructure anyway. My city is building another rail line as an extension. Lots of southern cities have rail lines that are owned by freight companies that they can negotiate with. New Infrastructure can be built. All this old infrastructure didn't spring out of thin air.
> it would make more sense to decentralize things, instead of having everyone commuting to a major city, incentivize business spreading out across the state. focus on mass transit instead of high density housing.
I wish you would just say that you don't want to let other people live in "dense" housing (DUPLEXES, come on man), rather than pretend you give rat's ass about affordability.
And that's why you're a fucking terrible person. You play act about "affordability" but all you really care about is dragging up the ladder behind you, and preventing others from living the way they want to.
You never show up for housing affordability, you never have lifted a finger to do *ANYTHING* to help affordability, but you know it's ghoulish to say what you really want, so you cover it up in other language. Which is despicable.
And when you say crap like this:
>you are basically projecting at this point as the policies you support price the average person out of being able to afford housing.
you're just clearly a phony clown. Right now, single family mansions are *BY RIGHT*, by wall street, by rich people, by anybody. But duplexes are banned. This bill only allows *OWNER OCCUPIED* duplexes are you're pretending that it's somehow going to make things less affordable.
Protecting your segrationist, exclusionary beliefs by lying and saying obviously wrong things about affordability is just outside the pale of acceptable behavior. We all see you. Maybe a year ago you could have pulled the wool over people's eyes, but people are more politically conscious now.
The COL will surely continue to increase, but are you suggesting that building more housing will cause it to increase faster than if they didn’t?
im not against building more housing, just that abolishing all single family housing will just end up causing col to rise faster as developers will only build where they can make the most profit.
Multi-family housing can be massively profitable.
I live in a 4-plex. My unit costs ~$1500 to rent. However, if they were all combined into one giant unit it would be significantly harder to rent out. You'd be hard-pressed to find a person or family willing to pay +$6000/month in this part of town.
Same goes for buying. My landlord owns my unit. It's much more valuable than the equivalent of what a quarter of a single family home on this lot would be. Besides, there's no way in hell he could afford the whole building, nor most people in the area.
There is demand for this sort of housing all over the country. Banning it, such as is the case with single family home zoning mandates, only serves to drive people out of the area or force them to over-spend. So I say good riddance.
Where would you prefer housing to be built, if not where there’s demand? Or is it more that you would prefer some kind of central planner to choose places for building?
its not about where i would prefer. use some common sense. developers are going to do what profits them the most. it benefits cities to have historic districts, or mix use, or single family...unregulated anything isnt actually good.
just because there is demand to have housing built in a specific area, does not mean it is an intelligent idea to start building housing there.
before you start increasing population density you need to make sure the infrastructure is there to support it. in terms of power, sewage, water, gas, telecommunications, mass transit, roads, pedestrian and bike paths
and even if you could provide those things you need to assess the impact that the housing would have there on the city as a whole. cities just cant grow without limit, think about hospitals, public schools and class sizes or county services...shit just doesnt keep growing and growing. the infrastructure has to be there to support the population.
I guess I’m just trying to figure out what you’d rather be done. Would you just want infrastructure to be built to a certain standard some amount of time before any residential/commercial developments? Or would you say the best course of action here is no action and people just shouldn’t move to areas in high demand due to the affect that has on the city/town? Just tryna pick your brain since I don’t seem to be following your thought process.
the infrastructure needs to be in place before any new residential or commercial developments, the city needs to be able to support the increase in population...and if it cant then new construction or rezoning should be denied. thats why single family zoning has its place.
also just because an area is in high demand doesnt mean it should be redeveloped, the streets may be too narrow for increased traffic flow, there may be logistical problems with increasing or rerouting bus service or mass transit. its crazy to think that just because people want to live in a specific place that everyone should be able to live there. there needs to be a rational logical approach to city planning.
people generally outgrow their idealism when their brains fully mature somewhere in their mid 20s. but comeon this shit is all common sense.
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Our housing shortage is due to the fact that developers can’t maximize output. I’m simplifying it, but more homes will create more supply, which will lower the cost of said homes. Not to mention, the ROI on transportation infrastructure, i.e. mass transit. - not saying there is ever a profit for mass transit in the states, but 1 billion toward a freeway vs 1 billion toward mass transit changes the dynamic of the area.
What comes first, the mass transit or high density. I say it’s density, and zoning has always prohibited density
On top of letting more housing be built in general, there's a few other things that are incredibly inefficient at the moment. I think we also need a public builder of homes, too. Markets do tend to slightly underbuild, rather than overbuild, and then there's also a business cycle which alternates between too much and too little. A public builder will provide employment to labor when the business cycle is down, allowing a robust workforce with steadier employment. It will also be able to provide housing to those that can't afford market rate.
We need a housing guarantee.
Don’t get me wrong, I like what you’re saying, but being that we living in a “free-market” (not really), our capitalist system will flip their shit if this ever happened, so we resort to RFPs and under built developments.
That being said, a non-profit developer would be interesting…
If you are in California, keep an eye on AB387 for just such an option. Some forces are trying to slow-roll it by changing it from "let's build some social housing" into "let's spend years writing a report about social housing," but if it survives it could be a major corrective.
In California in particular, our building trades are getting hollowed out, and we just don't have enough workforce to produce what we need. I'm hopeful that a good social housing builder will bring a bunch more people into the trades. And we need a toooon of new people in the trades anyway to green our buildings for the climate challenge.