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Sacramento on Brink of Reversing Residential Zoning


Sacramento on Brink of Reversing Residential Zoning

February 11, 2021
Sacramento aerial
Photo: Mark

Sacramento is close to approving one of the country’s first plans to end single-family residential zoning, which permits only one home on a property. Up to four homes could be built on lots in the city’s upscale neighborhoods. The LA Times notes this comes as a result of a new booming population of healthcare and technology employers and workers, in addition to the many who left San Francisco for cheaper living. Sacramento’s rents have responded accordingly to the new demand with double-digit increases and a growing homeless population. Sacramento’s mayor and a group of activists strongly support the zoning proposal, hoping to stand as a leader to other cities.

The group, House Sacramento, is part of a network of organizations across the state called Yes in My Backyard, or YIMBY, that push for similar measures.

“Sacramento should be a pioneer in saying ‘yes’ to more homes for all,” the organization wrote last month to the City Council.

Steinberg, whose home was recently damaged by protesters demonstrating against homelessness, argues major changes to ensure the city’s long-term affordability are needed to avoid the Bay Area’s fate.

“Our challenge is housing,” Steinberg said. “I not only take pride in the fact that we’re leading — I insist on it.”

A “Don’t Become San Francisco” mantra also motivated Oregon lawmakers in 2019 when they voted to end single-family home zoning across the state’s urban areas, including Portland. The city of Minneapolis started the trend the year prior by becoming the first major U.S. city to eliminate single-family home only zoning.

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