On behalf of Michael Brooks of Law Offices of Michael A. Brooks posted in land use & zoning restrictions on Friday, March 23, 2018.

Some areas of California are running out of space for housing developments, and industry leaders and politicians are thinking that it’s time for some drastic changes.

However, those changes may spell the end of local controls over zoning regulations in the name of the greater good.

If you’re thinking about investing in California real estate, this is important news.

Zoning restrictions have become a major factor in a number of issues in the state over the years. The housing shortage has made it difficult for the average person to find affordable rents. In addition, employers resent the zoning restrictions around mass transit locations because it forces potential employees to commute long distances — or go somewhere else to live and work.

If the state has its way, those problems could become a thing of the past. If the proposed State Bill 827 passes, local jurisdictions would be barred from enacting zoning restrictions that would stop housing developments from going up near light-rail train stations or bus routes that are regularly used. Experts say that would essentially affect around 95 percent of some cities.

In addition, the new zoning regulations included in Sill 827 would require housing developments to be a minimum of 45-85 feet in those same areas. That would make eight-story buildings a given.

Environmentalists and current residents of those areas may not be enthusiastic about the changes but executives from a wide array of industries — including tech companies, rideshare companies and more — are backing the bill. They say that the current zoning restrictions are, in essence, killing the growth of their companies by making it too hard to find and employ good workers.

Those opposed to the bill consider it absolutely draconian in nature. It guts the ability of local jurisdictions to let the people already living there decide what is actually in their best interests by vote.

While it remains to be seen if the bill will pass, the odds are good that it will (given the amount of high-profile backers it already has among the captains of industry). If it does, the opportunities for investors who are ready to begin those housing developments are ripe for picking.

Source: The Porterville Recorder, “Commentary: Zoning nullification: The end of local control,” March 08, 2018

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