We have a big housing problem in California and I’d like to explore running a ballot initiative in 2018 that will help alleviate this crisis. For the next few weeks I’m going to propose policies that I think could help.
Please sign this petition if you think the below policy makes sense– if we get a lot of support, we will pursue it.
We need to make it easier to build homes in California. We can’t afford to have a regulatory environment that restricts supply and keeps homes from being built. It takes too long to build here, the regulations are too complex and this needs to be changed.
Last year Governor Brown proposed a bold piece of legislation to help alleviate this problem. The legislation would have fast tracked housing construction by expanding “by right” construction to projects that meet certain affordable unit requirements. Unfortunately special interests helped kill the legislation and the people of California lost out on more housing.
I like Governor Brown’s solution because it simplifies regulation while preserving local residents’ right to define the communities that they live in. A “by right” framework is not pro-developer or pro-homeowner. It simply says that we should respect the zoning process.
In most US cities, local governments establish zoning that governs how land can be used. We have this process in California too, but in many parts of the state you have to ask for permission to build even when you're within the zoning rules. This is redundant and slows down building. Once zoning is set, projects shouldn’t be challenged on a case-by-case basis.
Furthermore, special interests abuse legislation like CEQA to prevent new units from being built. CEQA is an environmental protection bill that was supposed to require environmental impact reports for large scale projects like dams and highways. Today it’s being used to delay much smaller scale residential projects for years at a time, and often prevent them altogether. We need to protect our environment but this isn’t the way to do it. We should keep CEQA for big projects, but streamline environmental guidelines for projects below a certain size. Government approval for a project should take no longer than 6 months in total.
If you would support a proposition to let the people vote on by right construction and CEQA reform, sign the petition below. If you have comments, please share them here.