Cities Finding Ways to Resist State-Mandated Upzoning

The resistance to state-mandated zoning reforms, already well underway in Oregon, is now starting to whiplash through California as well.

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December 1, 2021, 10:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Pacific Ocean

Redondo Beach only has one way to go if it wants to grow. | Kirk Wester / Shutterstock

Liam Dillon reports for the Los Angeles Times on the methods California cities are using to resist the mandates of Senate Bill 9, a statewide upzoning bill approved earlier this year.

According to Dillon, "Cities across the state, from Los Altos Hills and Cupertino in the Bay Area to Pasadena and Redondo Beach in Los Angeles County, are considering measures that would blunt the effects of the new law."

"Among other restrictions, local plans are aiming to limit the size and height of new development, mandate parking spots and require that such housing be rented only to those making moderate or low incomes," adds Dillon.

When it passed SB 9, California followed in the footsteps of Oregon, which approved House Bill 2001 in 2019 to similarly require Oregon cities to allow new density in neighborhoods exclusively zoned for single-family, detached housing. The city of Portland, Oregon experimented with their own way to counteract the state-mandated upzoning, by creating new criteria for declaring Portland neighborhoods as Historic Districts with the National Register of Historic Places. That effort, dubbed the Historic Resources Code Project is scheduled to appear before the Portland City Council on December 15.

A lot more detail on the methods specific California cities are using to repeat state-mandated zoning reforms are available in Dillon's Los Angeles Times coverage, linked below.

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