California lawmakers have been pushing for legislation to override locally approved zoning rules and permit denser development in residential neighborhoods. A bill is rushing toward passage in the state Legislature that would dramatically rewrite land-use rules in California.

SB 9 has passed the state Senate and is awaiting a vote in the Assembly

One problem with the bill is that overriding local zoning cannot be Sacramento’s lone scheme for achieving affordability — because, unfortunately, it will not have the intended outcome. Affordable housing development is only attractive where land values are economical and adequate financial subsidies are available. 

Upzoning of the sort proposed does not produce more affordable housing. Rather, it increases the underlying land’s value, making new construction unnecessarily more expensive and, over time, raising values and rents throughout neighborhoods. Read more


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