Effect of California's New Anti-Sprawl Law Uncertain

Clearly it has aroused enormous excitement and hope amongst California's smart growth advocates, but the new anti-sprawl, greenhouse gas-reducing law, SB 375, may do more in the tone it sets than in the changes its supporters hope it makes.

While "many California planning and environmental groups are heralding the passage of legislation designed to address global warming by curbing suburban sprawl as a watershed moment, perhaps the state's most important land-use law in more than 30 years", it is far from a done deal that the law in itself can do what its advocates hope.

"Essentially the law, which will take years to implement, uses incentives and requirements to encourage local governments and builders to concentrate growth in urban areas or close to public transportation hubs in an effort to reduce Californians' use of cars and lower their greenhouse gas emissions."

Proponents hope that it is merely a first step, that future state legislation and more importantly, local land use policies will send the message, "Dense, transit-oriented development is a critical goal for the collective good."

But is the new law enough to overcome current, local opposition to smart growth?

"The ultimate impact will depend on how the legislation is put into effect, and whether its carrots and sticks will outweigh the cries from people who don't want big new buildings on their block."

Thanks to John Holtzclaw

Full Story: New land-use law's message: build near transit

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