Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

The current administration is not going to give up on increasing our misery index. In addition to rampant inflation and a possible recession, it is hell bent on removing local zoning protection.

Cases in point. Here are some recent examples. Lawmakers in Arlington County, Virginia, a northern suburb adjacent to Washington, D.C., may do away with single-family zoning across the county of 240,000. It is a product of a years-long study that considered the role these medium-density homes can play in expanding the housing supply in an increasingly expensive metropolitan area.

Yet another example is happening in Atlanta, Georgia under Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. What her administration’s “housing plan” proposes to do, as found starting on page 43 of the 88 page document called ‘Atlanta City Design Housing’ is to:

  • End single-family zoning, allowing any property owner by right to build an additional dwelling unit (called an “Accessory Dwelling Unit”, or ADU) on any lot now zoned for one family residence (p57).
  • Some accessory dwelling units could be built with modular technology, assembled offsite and transported to a final location.
  • Allow the property owner by right to then subdivide the lot and sell the ADU separately on its own “flag lot” (p67), then presumably build another and repeat the process, completely overbuilding the property
  • “Loosen” the building requirements, such as size and height, for ADU’s (p69), making them cheaper, and likely less attractive in the neighborhood
  • Reduce minimum lot sizes, and minimum set-backs from the street and adjacent properties (p82), in order to get more buildings onto every property
  • End minimum residential parking requirements citywide (p74), so that new apartment and condominium buildings would not have to provide parking for their residents, but can rather require them to park on neighborhood streets

The New York Times in a recent article said, “Single-family zoning is practically gospel in America, embraced by homeowners and local governments to protect neighborhoods of tidy houses from denser development nearby. But a number of officials across the country are starting to make seemingly heretical moves. The Oregon legislature this month will consider a law that would end zoning exclusively for single-family homes in most of the state. California lawmakers have drafted a bill that would effectively do the same. In December Minneapolis City Council voted to end single-family zoning citywide.”

Biden says that he wants to “eliminate local and state housing regulations that perpetuate discrimination.” Biden then identifies “exclusionary zoning” as the kind of housing regulation he wants to “eliminate.” “Exclusionary zoning” is Biden’s term for what is more commonly called “single-family zoning.”

Add that President Biden has promised that he will eliminate “exclusionary zoning” with the HOME Act of 2019, co-sponsored by Senator Cory Booker and House majority whip James Clyburn. The HOME Act of 2019 requires any municipality receiving Community Development Block Grants from HUD or benefiting from federal Surface Transportation Grants for highway construction and repair, to submit a plan to “reduce barriers” to high-density low-income housing. The plan must choose from a menu of items, most of which in some way limit or eliminate single-family zoning.

In a July 18, 2022, Phoenix Business Journal article, using a report from a Washington, D.C. think tank called Up for Growth, says Arizona’s housing deficit has increased 1,377% since 2012 — representing 122,683 homes. In the same article, Steven Hensley, advisory manager for the Zonda housing market research firm, said the approval and permitting process at the municipal level is delaying projects, which results in less development. He went on to say that local municipalities must address these issues and allow more building and more density to improve housing costs.

Why the sudden and intractable need for more affordable housing? The American birth rate fell for the sixth consecutive year in 2020, with the lowest number of babies born since 1979. About 3.6 million babies were born in the US in 2020 – marking a 4% decline from the year before. It’s not that the U.S. population is increasing.

So, what is creating the need for large amounts of affordable housing? Can you say ‘open borders’? Can you say that nearly 2 million illegal immigrants have arrived since the start of the Biden administration? Where are they going to live?

This new desire for affordable housing, requires that you to give up the American Dream of a single-family home.

In my next blog I will share how affordable housing can affect you directly.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.