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More States Preempting Local Regulations in the Name of Housing

California gets most of the attention, but states all over the country are removing some of the vestiges of local control to help spur housing development, require affordable housing, and control the skyrocketing cost of housing.
October 18, 2018, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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California State Capital

Tersa Wiltz writes to explain an emerging shift in the politics of housing:

As an affordable housing crisis continues to escalate in big cities and small towns alike, states are scrambling to find ways to combat it. This year, there’s been a flurry of state legislation to tackle the problem — with radically different approaches that reflect the highly partisan national divide.

States "from South Carolina to Hawaii" are getting involved with the housing policies of local governments, according to the article. Experts from the Urban Institute, the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National League of Cities, the Terner Center for Housing Innovation, and the Manhattan Institute are cited in describing both the problems of the housing market and the proposed, state-level solutions.

While California has been making a lot of noise for passing and debating new laws that preempt local obstacles to development, Wiltz also notes the actions of other states, like Connecticut, South Carolina, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Louisiana, who have either proposed or approved laws that would enable or require more housing and affordable housing development.

Hawaii and Tennessee have taken a different approach, and used state preemption to quell local affordable housing policies, like inclusionary zoning.

Meanwhile a pair of efforts at the federal level have also made motions against local control, though how substantive either of those actions might actually prove is still very much a matter of speculation. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has made policy proclamations that at least partly decry the overabundance of local land use and development regulations, and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has proposed legislation that would strip away some local zoning laws.

Full Story:
Published on Monday, October 15, 2018 in Pew Stateline
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