Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

‘The state is now targeting cities over housing. It’s about time’

By San Francisco Business Times, August 16, 2019

“If cities that aren’t taking California’s housing crisis seriously begin to feel the heat, will they finally see the light?

“At least a few encouraging signs are gathering to suggest that they might — signs that mean the state needs to keep up the pressure on communities, mainly suburban, that continue to deny, derail, or downsize housing projects within their borders. Communities can now face fines of up to $600,000 for flouting state affordable housing targets.

“That $600,000 is plenty high enough to give smaller communities incentive to change a longstanding equation that keeps too many of them from getting anywhere near their assigned housing goals: Approving housing at scale can carry electoral consequence from constituents, whereas thumbing one’s nose at the state has traditionally carried none. This has allowed much of Bay Area suburban officialdom to take the attitude that the housing crisis is somebody else’s problem, to be solved elsewhere.

“It’s not, and won’t be. In fact, the problem just keeps getting worse. Housing permits across the state totaled barely 100,000 in 2018, half what’s needed simply to keep pace. The shortfall adds to a cumulative California deficit estimated at 3.5 million homes.

“Given the scale of the problem and its downward trajectory, there’s a short answer to which communities should face state pressure if they are not actually making housing happen: pretty much all of them.”

Read the complete Business Times editorial here.