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.

Read Time: 1 minute

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.

Thursday, December 30, 2021 in Los Angeles Times

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Aerial view of Bend, Oregon with river and old mill district

Bend Eliminates Parking Minimums

The city is complying with an Oregon state mandate that some cities have challenged in court.

January 20, 2023 - KTVZ

Sunset view over canal and downtown Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale Cuts Water Supply to Nearby Suburb

The city claims it has no responsibility to provide water to the unincorporated Maricopa County community.

January 18, 2023 - The Washington Post

Aerial view of Ogden, Utah with Wasatch Mountains in the background

Utah Could Eliminate Parking Requirements Near Transit

A proposed state bill would bar cities from requiring parking in areas adjacent to transit stations in an effort to make housing production more affordable and encourage walking and transit use.

7 hours ago - The Salt Lake Tribune

People on bikes on crowded Rue de Rivoli in Paris in 2020

Where Pandemic Bike Improvements Won Out

While some cities are reverting back to pre-pandemic street configurations, others are taking advantage of the momentum for bike and pedestrian infrastructure to make pandemic-era projects permanent.

January 29 - Momentum Magazine

Atlanta Rail Service

Atlanta Transit Plans Stall Due to Budget Concerns

With MARTA facing a potential billion dollar shortfall, the agency says it can’t fulfill its system expansion plan.

January 29 - Urbanize Atlanta