Citywide Zoning Reforms Approved for Sacramento

The Sacramento City Council took steps toward an updated General Plan that includes a variety of innovative planning proposals, including the elimination of single-family zoning by allowing up to four dwelling units on all residential parcels.

2 minute read

January 20, 2021, 12:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


belyay / Shutterstock

"The Sacramento City Council took a step Tuesday toward becoming one of the first cities in the country to eliminate traditional single-family zoning," reports Theresa Clift.

The City Council voted unanimously to allow all residential parcels to contain up to four dwelling units to help the city alleviate its housing affordability crisis, explains Clift, and increase access for more of the city's residents to neighborhoods with high-performing schools, pristine parks and other amenities. The changes are included in the city's 2040 General Plan.

According to Clift's portrayal of the council hearing, public comment was mostly in support of the historic change, though some neighborhood associations in the city opposed the change previous to the vote.

"City leaders said the neighborhoods would look essentially the same as they do now, because buildings would still have their current height restrictions. There would also be historical protections, limits on how much of a lot size a house could take up and on the amount of square footage," deports Clift for more details on the substance of Tuesday's vote.

According to a tweet by Louis Mirante, who discloses YIMBY affiliations, the City Council also voted to eliminate parking minimums and study parking maximums, in another historically significant reform of the planning status quo.

The city of Sacramento follows Minneapolis; Portland, Oregon; and the state of Oregon at the forefront of the emerging trend in planning to address equity and housing affordability by loosening land use regulations that excluded multi-family housing and commercial and retail uses from the vast majority of the land in U.S. cities. Of those jurisdictions, the state of Oregon recently finalized the zoning changes mandated in 2019 by House Bill 2001, and Minneapolis is in the process of codifying the recommendations of the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

According to Dov Kadin, a planner with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), the city must still undertake the process of codifying these changes in the city's zoning code.

"To be clear, this action only allows staff to proceed with a series of key strategies and a draft land use/transportation map. The final votes on the whole General Plan Update will be later this year, but this was a big hurdle that will start the environmental review," says Kadin on Twitter.

Kadin adds that the 2040 General Plan includes proposals for "road diets across the city to prioritize transit/bike/ped over automobiles and support low carbon transportation options/safety."

Tuesday, January 19, 2021 in Sacramento Bee

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Rendering of wildlife crossing over 101 freeway in Los Angeles County.

World's Largest Wildlife Overpass In the Works in Los Angeles County

Caltrans will soon close half of the 101 Freeway in order to continue construction of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing near Agoura Hills in Los Angeles County.

April 15, 2024 - LAist

Workers putting down asphalt on road.

U.S. Supreme Court: California's Impact Fees May Violate Takings Clause

A California property owner took El Dorado County to state court after paying a traffic impact fee he felt was exorbitant. He lost in trial court, appellate court, and the California Supreme Court denied review. Then the U.S. Supreme Court acted.

April 18, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

View from back of BART Police SUV driving down street in San Francisco, California.

Podcast: Addressing the Root Causes of Transit Violence

Deploying transit police is a short-term fix. How can transit agencies build sustainable safety efforts?

34 minutes ago - Streetsblog USA

Sunset view of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota skyline.

Minneapolis as a Model for Housing Affordability

Through a combination of policies, the city has managed to limit the severity of the nationwide housing crisis.

1 hour ago - Brown Political Review

Row of yellow Pacers Bikeshare bikes at station in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.

Indy Bikeshare System Turns 10, Expands to E-Bikes

Pacers Bikeshare riders logged over 700,000 rides since the system launched in 2014.

2 hours ago - Indy Today

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.