Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Heritage Insider news

Californians need more economic freedom—especially in the housing market. A new report by Kerry Jackson catalogs all the ways the state has made it hard to build new housing—leading to Californians facing the third highest median home price in the country. The barriers include California’s Environmental Quality Act, which imposes onerous environmental impact statement requirements and allows opponents of development to litigate against construction; affordable housing mandates; density controls; rent control; minimum parking space requirements; and excessive permit fees. On top of all that, a mindset of NIMBYism and BANANAism pervades the state, writes Jackson:
“NIMBYs: Not every CEQA challenge is based on environmental concerns. Hoover’s Kaye says CEQA ‘provides an easy litigation path to almost anyone who wants to block a development project.’ The Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) special interests who simply don’t want further development in or near their neighborhoods commonly use CEQA to thwart projects.
“The Legislative Analyst’s Office reports that opponents employ not only CEQA but local land-use policies to block new housing. This ‘opposition to new housing appears to be heightened on the California coast’ where hesitancy ‘about new housing can lead residents to pressure local officials to use their land-use authority to slow or block new development or may result in residents directly intervening in land use decisions via the initiative and referendum process.’
“NIMBYism isn’t limited to coastal areas. Carson Bruno, an assistant dean at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy, says ‘communities up and down the Golden State have successfully prevented countless new development projects.’ Much of the NIMBY opposition is directed at infill housing and therefore doesn’t affect the state’s housing stock, but in many instances, the opposition is targeted at new development and therefore restricts needed increases in the supply.
“BANANAs: Members of this group want to Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone. They will use any means they can to block development. A report from the Center for California Real Estate says BANANA tactics ‘often include writing news releases, letters to the editor, and op-eds; soliciting support from elected officials; testifying at public hearings; calling radio talk shows; organizing and publicizing town hall meetings; conducting petition drives; placing postings on social media sites; (and) establishing coalitions of like-minded citizens.’ Like NIMBYs, BANANAs help drive the anti-growth policies that in some jurisdictions cap new development and/or give wide latitude to review boards that hold the future of development in their hands.” [Pacific Research Institute]