Sacramento city council passed a reform bill in January which changes zoning laws to allow up to four homes on lots which had previously permitted just one. The move comes amid rising housing prices nationwide, and it is seen as a viable option for creating more affordable housing in cities where it is desperately needed. (The Sacremento Bee, 2021)
The zoning change will permit single-family homes to be converted into duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes, and also allows for accessory dwelling units, or “granny flats”, which are detached living areas located on the same property as the primary residence, for example a detached garage which is converted to an apartment.
The change is a form of upzoning, where lower density zoning lots become higher density lots. Despite the benefits of upzoning, which include the creation of more affordable housing and higher returns for homeowners, there has been significant pushback from residents in both urban and suburban areas who fear decreased property values and parking problems. (Bloomberg.com, 2021)
As a result, many are arguing for a hyperlocal zoning reform, where zoning changes similar to those in Sacramento can be made on a street-by-street basis or block-by-block basis. Each street would hold a vote among its residents, with local governments still controlling the zoning options from which the hyperlocal residents could choose from. (Manhattan Institute, 2021)