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.

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

Stylized rendering of the Midwest Regional Rail Network

Federal Railroad Administration Proposes New Midwest Rail Network

If built, regional high-speed rail networks could provide an alternative to uncomfortable air travel and prevent travelers from becoming stranded at airports during extreme weather.

January 17, 2022 - The Urbanist

New York City Politicians wears a mask at a New York subway station during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Leadership at New York Department of City Planning

With a new mayoral administration comes new planning leadership in the Big Apple.

January 20, 2022 - New York City


'15-Minute City' To Be Built in Utah

A community that focuses on reducing the need for car ownership and providing effective multimodal transportation and diverse land uses will be built from scratch on the site of the decommissioned Utah State Prison.

January 19, 2022 - Streetsblog USA

Suburban Homes

Experts Express Pessimism Over Housing Costs

Although the current housing crisis has been compared with the housing crash of the late 2000s, experts caution that affordability issues could plague the U.S. housing market for years to come.

5 hours ago - The New York Times

online education

Annual Google Scholar Citation Data for Planning Faculty

Publish or perish?

6 hours ago - Tom Sanchez

Texas Apartment Construction

What the Microchip Shortage Reveals About Housing

The microchip shortage facing the automotive industry illustrates the significant impact that supply has on the cost of durable goods.

7 hours ago -

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Case Study posted on HUD User

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.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.