Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Newsom Housing Mandates Undercut by Dramatic Population Drop Data
By admin
Published 11 months ago on
August 9, 2023

Share

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The political war between state and local government officials over who has the last word on land use – particularly for housing – is entering a new and perhaps even more caustic phase.

Dan Walters with a serious expression

Dan Walters

CalMatters

Opinion

Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature, through new laws and directives from the state housing agency, are leaning hard on local governments, particularly cities, to make more land available for housing and eliminate zoning, design criteria, setbacks, parking requirements and other local rules that impede construction.

State officials say California needs to build 2.5 million new housing units by 2030, more than double the previous 2025 goal that isn’t close to being met.

“More than just being a high number or an aspirational goal, the new housing need … target is a legal obligation that cities and counties must abide by,” the state’s housing plan declares.

“Through the implementation of a number of meaningful accountability reforms passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor in recent years,” it adds, “California’s 2.5 million unit target is no longer a paper exercise – it’s an expectation for the zoning, permitting, and construction of real, new housing units.”

While many cities have – albeit grudgingly – changed local housing plans enough to win state approval, some have held out, contending that locally elected city councils should have the last word on what happens in their neighborhoods.

Housing Plan Resistance from Affluent Cities

Resistance has been particularly stout in high-income cities with spacious single-family homes on large lots and little or no multi-family apartment development. Their officials argue that high-density housing would spoil their bucolic ambience – a claim that pro-housing advocates say smacks of racial or economic segregation.

State officials have threatened legal action against the holdouts, and new laws allow developers to build projects without local permission in cities that lack approved housing plans.

Unable to muster enough support in the Legislature, critics of the state’s build-it-now policies may turn to voters. The have submitted a proposed constitutional amendment that would restore local authority over housing projects, declaring “local land use planning or zoning initiatives approved by voters shall not be nullified or superseded by state law.”

There’s another new and ironic wrinkle in the years-long conflict. The state has just published new population projections that could undercut specific housing quotas the state has imposed on regions and indirectly on cities.

The state’s current housing plan assumes that California’s population will reach 42.3 million by 2030 with 14.4 million households. However, a few weeks ago the state Department of Finance’s demographers, reacting to the state’s recent population declines, issued a new set of projections that California’s population will show little or no growth through 2060.

The demographers now estimate that in 2030, California will have just 39.4 million residents – 3 million fewer than the previous projection – which would translate into about a million fewer households needing homes.

For example, in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, the state’s quota of 441,176 new units by 2030 is based on a projected population of 8.3 million but the state’s new 2030 estimate is just 7.6 million.

An even starker numerical gap is evident in the six counties that make up the Southern California Association of Governments, including Los Angeles. SCAG’s 1.3 million-unit quota assumes that the region will have 20.5 million residents by 2030 but the state now projects that its population will be markedly lower at 18.6 million.

Critics of the state’s quota system are already crunching the numbers to contend that it’s based on inaccurate projections of need and therefore should not be the basis of pressure from state officials.

California still has a big housing shortage, but it may be considerably smaller than the official numbers.

About the Author

Dan Walters has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, spending all but a few of those years working for California newspapers. He began his professional career in 1960, at age 16, at the Humboldt Times. CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters. For more columns by Dan Walters, go to calmatters.org/commentary.

Make Your Voice Heard

GV Wire encourages vigorous debate from people and organizations on local, state, and national issues. Submit your op-ed to rreed@gvwire.com for consideration. 

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Obesity Drug Used in Mounjaro and Zepbound May Help Treat Dangerous Sleep Apnea

DON'T MISS

At Least 6 Heat-Related Deaths Reported in Metro Phoenix So Far This Year as High Hits 115 Degrees

DON'T MISS

Coffee Research Center at UC Davis Poised to Deliver a Jolt

DON'T MISS

Workers Sue Disney Claiming They Were Fraudulently Induced to Move to Florida from California

DON'T MISS

Fresno Suspect Arrested in Armed Home Invasion, Earlier Burglary

DON'T MISS

A Half-Century of Roaring Passion: Cobras, Shelby Mustangs & The People Who Love Them

DON'T MISS

On a Night for Doubling up, Lilly King Also Takes Home an Engagement Ring

DON'T MISS

Paris Awaits for Sha’Carri, Lyles and Dozens More, but Olympic Spots Must Be Earned at Trials

DON'T MISS

New York Commission Suspends Garcia for a Year and Rules His Win Over Haney a No-Contest

DON'T MISS

Fresno Police Will Target Dangerous Drivers on Saturday

UP NEXT

California Democrats Score Big Win as Supreme Court Blocks Anti-Tax Ballot Measure

UP NEXT

California Workplace Safety Board Approves Heat Protections for Indoor Workers, Excluding Prisons

UP NEXT

Fresno Trash Rate Protest Fails. Decision Rests with Council Next Week.

UP NEXT

Give-and-Take Between Dyer & Council Yields a Fresno Budget. What’s In It?

UP NEXT

California’s Budget Process Has Once Again Become Secretive and Needs Reform

UP NEXT

California Voters Lose a Shot at Checking State and Local Tax Hikes at the Polls

UP NEXT

Mike Pence’s Foundation Launches a $10 Million Election-Year Campaign to Preserve Trump-Era Tax Cuts

UP NEXT

Something’s Rotten About the Justices Taking So Long on Trump’s Immunity Case

UP NEXT

Parlier Political Wars Update: Did the Council Fire the City Attorney, or Not?

UP NEXT

Trump Tries to Set Expectations, and Floats Excuses, for His Debate With Biden

Workers Sue Disney Claiming They Were Fraudulently Induced to Move to Florida from California

3 hours ago

Fresno Suspect Arrested in Armed Home Invasion, Earlier Burglary

3 hours ago

A Half-Century of Roaring Passion: Cobras, Shelby Mustangs & The People Who Love Them

4 hours ago

On a Night for Doubling up, Lilly King Also Takes Home an Engagement Ring

4 hours ago

Paris Awaits for Sha’Carri, Lyles and Dozens More, but Olympic Spots Must Be Earned at Trials

4 hours ago

New York Commission Suspends Garcia for a Year and Rules His Win Over Haney a No-Contest

4 hours ago

Fresno Police Will Target Dangerous Drivers on Saturday

5 hours ago

How Misleading Videos Are Trailing Biden as He Battles Age Doubts

5 hours ago

Bragg Asks Judge to Extend Trump’s Gag Order, Citing Deluge of Threats

5 hours ago

Still Need Your Landline? California Just Stopped AT&T from Pulling the Plug

5 hours ago

Obesity Drug Used in Mounjaro and Zepbound May Help Treat Dangerous Sleep Apnea

A popular obesity drug may help treat a dangerous disorder in which people struggle to breathe while they sleep, a new study finds. Tirzepat...

2 hours ago

2 hours ago

Obesity Drug Used in Mounjaro and Zepbound May Help Treat Dangerous Sleep Apnea

2 hours ago

At Least 6 Heat-Related Deaths Reported in Metro Phoenix So Far This Year as High Hits 115 Degrees

3 hours ago

Coffee Research Center at UC Davis Poised to Deliver a Jolt

Photo of the entrance to Walt Disney World
3 hours ago

Workers Sue Disney Claiming They Were Fraudulently Induced to Move to Florida from California

3 hours ago

Fresno Suspect Arrested in Armed Home Invasion, Earlier Burglary

4 hours ago

A Half-Century of Roaring Passion: Cobras, Shelby Mustangs & The People Who Love Them

4 hours ago

On a Night for Doubling up, Lilly King Also Takes Home an Engagement Ring

4 hours ago

Paris Awaits for Sha’Carri, Lyles and Dozens More, but Olympic Spots Must Be Earned at Trials

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend