California Governor's Budget Supports Infill Development

Governor Newsom's new budget proposes incentives for developers to build housing in existing urban areas away from fire-prone zones to reduce fire risk and add to the state's insufficient housing stock.

January 20, 2022, 8:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Riverside, California

Orange Grove / Shutterstock

A $2-billion package of grants and tax credits proposed in California Governor Newsom's budget would incentivize development in urban cores and steer housing construction away from areas facing high fire risks. The governor called it an effort to move development away from the "urban-wildland interface" where communities are routinely affected by California's increasingly destructive fires.

According to an article by Hannah Wiley, "The proposal would build on the $10.3 billion state officials allotted last year to bolster mixed- and low-income housing in California, but marks an evolution in the governor’s approach to solving the state’s multimillion-unit shortage" by specifically supporting infill housing projects in already developed areas.

The governor's top housing advisor said of the proposal "better for equity, it’s better for inclusion, it’s better for the environment." The Governor hopes the new language will encourage transit-oriented development and ease the cost and administrative burden of development on underused urban land and state-owned land that could be used for affordable housing, as well as reduce the cost of adaptive reuse that converts buildings to residential use.

The plan would reduce the encroachment of residential development into fire-prone areas and ease pressures on the state's mounting housing crisis by providing more incentives for dense, transit-oriented, affordable housing development.

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