Housing@100%: Innovation 8
Supporting Cities and Counties
The projects presented in the ten innovations areas are all designed to address barriers to vital services. Action teams should review all projects and prioritize those that have the best chance of addressing the barriers identified in the 100% New Mexico countywide survey. Your collaborative and result-focused local work is nothing less than heroic.
Project 1: The “get acquainted with land use law” project
The prices of homes, like every other consumer good, is dictated by supply and demand. Often, cities use zoning regulations to constrain the supply. Their chief tool is something called the single family zone, a restriction assigned to vast swaths of many neighborhoods that says only one house and one family can live on one piece of property. No duplexes, no mother-in-law units and definitely no apartments.
The single family zone has the effect of minimizing the density of neighborhoods and keeping out apartment buildings, which many homeowners dislike along with the people who rent them. (“Renter” is a bit of a four-letter word in many entrenched neighborhood circles.) In some cities, regulations effectively hand veto rights over to neighborhood residents when it comes to apartment complex construction, even when they’re allowed in the given zone.
This is a long way of illustrating the point that small regulations that you may have never considered can have a big impact on how many housing units are available in the first place, and thus their price. Walling off entire neighborhoods to anyone except those who can pay ever-increasing prices, effectively shunts low income people to the city limits where commutes are long and transit is sparse. But the land use picture is much more complicated than even this illustration, which leads us to… homework.
San Jose ADU policy: https://aae.how/48