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A few interesting articles on housing and land use caught my eye recently. First up, Nick Fitzpatrick in Forbes:
An Axiometrics study of two metropolitan areas – Dallas and the San Francisco Bay Area — showed that the submarkets with the highest-ranking Walk Score in the market tend to have the highest average rent per unit. Though correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation, high Walk Scores seem to be in high demand.
Walkable neighborhoods are popular. We should build more of them! Next up, Roger Rudick in Streetsblog, drawing attention to a huge plot of undeveloped land right next to a CalTrain station:
The problem, said Levin, boils down to the fact that the station and the adjacent land is located outside of the San Francisco limits, in the City of Brisbane, population 4,282 as of the 2010 census. Developers would like to add enough mixed-use, transit oriented development to double the population of Brisbane. But Levin said the city council doesn’t want that–and has pushed for office parks and retail that, she said, might provide more tax revenue. “It’s still partially a Proposition 13 mindset” which puts sharp limits on how much residential property taxes can increase.
Residential property taxes in California are so low, nobody wants to build more housing. Instead, the idea is to build more office parks and hope some other municipality coughs up the housing units. It’s NIMBY-ism at the the city level. Finally, closer to home, Dan Bertolet, in his new gig at Sightline, looks at one of my favorite topics, backyard cottages (ADUs):
Myriad regulatory barriers currently litter the law books of Cascadian cities, clogging the ADU pipeline. Vancouver’s success in building more than 26,000 ADUs has been all about undoing those restrictions. Starting in the late 1980s, the city legalized thousands of existing, but illegal, ADUs. Over time, it eliminated the most counterproductive barriers.
I’ve been kinda meh on backyard cottages as a scalable housing solution because of all the regulatory barriers Dan enumerates. But if the HALA plan succeeds in removing those barriers, ADUs could certainly put a dent in our housing shortage.