Bravo, Governor Brown

Wanted to take a moment today to tip my cap to Governor Brown, who is (as usual) advocating a really smart response to our state’s housing affordability crisis.

Here’s a link to the proposed bill.

In case you’re not an expert on deciphering legalese, here, in a nutshell, is what it says: If a developer wants to develop a piece of land consistent with its zoning and is willing to make 10-20% of the units in a project affordable, then the local government needs to treat the project as a “by right” development and can’t impose additional, subjective hurdles.

Our affordability problem is 100% self-inflicted. We legislate insanely restrictive zoning that makes it very difficult to add new units. Then, when prices go crazy, we attempt to mitigate the effect on working people by having government subsidize affordable housing… but this housing is extremely expensive to building, because the land to build it on is very expensive, because of the zoning. (Note the circularity!)

Rather than throwing money away working against the gradient of the economic forces created by our stupid zoning laws, it’s better to just change the laws. And that’s what Governor Brown is trying to do.