Many states and cities around the country voted on November 5, 2019 to decide matters related to the future of the built environment.
While the big, sweeping hot takes in the wake of yesterday's election have focused on the implications to next year's presidential election, there were a lot of votes flying under the radar with significant implications for states and municipalities. Planetizen has rounded up election results, and we'll keep updating these stories throughout he week as more results come in.
Albuquerque General Obligation Bond (Homeless Shelter Funding)
Voters in Albuquerque approved a $128.5 million general obligation bond that includes $14 million in funding for the city to construct a 24/7 homeless shelter.
Albuquerque Transit Funding Gross Receipts Tax
Voters in Albuquerque approved the extension of a .25 percent gross receipts tax that funds transportation (roads, transit, and trails) in the city. According to an article by Mischa Wanek-Libam, at least 38 percent of that revenue must be dedicated to public transit.
Cincinnati Issue 22 (Bus System Tax)
Voters in Hamilton County approved Issue 22 with more than two-thirds of the vote. Issue 22 both indicates support for repealing a .3 percent earnings tax and clears the way for another vote on a countywide sales tax increase to fund transit. That election would take place in 2020.
Colorado Water Supply
Proposition DD would legalize sports gambling in Colorado and tax the new industry to generate revenue for water infrastructure projects in the state. Proposition DD is running slightly ahead in a vote that is too close to call as of this writing.
Durham Affordable Housing Bond
Voters in Durham, North Carolina overwhelmingly approved a $95 million bond to fund affordable housing projects and programs in the city.
Houston looks like it approved a $3.5 billion bond to fund the MetroNext transit plan, with more than two-thirds of voters supporting he bond referendum with a few ballots left to count. For context, see Planetizen coverage of the bond referendum from earlier this week.(Update: Houston Public Media is reporting that the bond referendum did, in fact, pass.)
Jersey City Airbnb Regulations
Lake County, Ohio Transit Funding Sales Tax
Voters in lake County, Ohio approved a .25 percent sales tax increase to raise revenue to fund Laketran public transit services—mostly dial-a-ride services but new corridors designed to improve access to jobs.
San Francisco Proposition A (Affordable Housing Bond)
San Francisco Proposition D (Ride-Hailing Tax)
San Francisco voters narrowly approved Proposition D, which will implement a new tax on ride-hailing trips on apps like Lyft and Uber. The tax revenue will fund public transit in the city and county of San Francisco.
San Francisco Proposition E (Zoning Approval for Affordable and Workforce Housing)
San Francisco voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition E, which eases the approvals process for affordable housing projects and projects designed to house educators.
Seattle City Council
The Seattle City Council election was characterized as a battle for the "soul of the city," with public transit, Amazon, and rapid growth very much the subtext for the choices made by voters among the available candidates for a historic number of vacant City Council seats.
Washington State Initiative 976
Washington voters appear to have approved Initiative 976, which will cap car tab fees used to fund transportation in the state at a flat rate of $30.
November 2018 Results
For a little historical context on planning-related elections, see also the Planetizen roundup of election results from the November 2018 election.
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Massachusetts Zoning Reform Law Reaches First Deadline
Cities and towns had until January 31 to submit their draft plans for rezoning areas near transit stations to comply with a new state law.
Green Alleys: A New Paradigm for Stormwater Management
Rather than shuttling stormwater away from the city and into the ocean as quickly as possible, Los Angeles is now—slowly—moving toward a ‘city-as-sponge’ approach that would capture and reclaim more water to recharge crucial reservoirs.
Property Appraisal Caps Unlikely to Pass in Texas
Critics of a proposal to limit property value increases to reduce homeowners’ property tax burden say the measure would destabilize the housing market and cause cities to raise other taxes to compensate.
Hawaii State Bills Could Limit or Expand Affordable Housing Law
Some legislators see a law that provides a zoning exemption to affordable housing builders as a necessary way to alleviate the housing crisis, while others worry about the impact of fast-tracked development on land zoned for conservation.
Cleveland: The Nation’s Most Equitably Walkable City
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California Polytechnic State University
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