NEWS: Zoning Reform in Mountain West as Housing Costs Rise

As housing costs continue to rise, many cities in the Mountain West region are embracing "Yes in My Backyard" (YIMBY) zoning reforms. YIMBY advocates argue that zoning restrictions that limit the construction of new multifamily housing units drive up housing costs, exacerbate inequality, and contribute to the housing shortage.

The new zoning laws aim to increase housing supply by allowing for the construction of more dense and diverse housing types, such as duplexes, triplexes, and apartments, in areas previously zoned for single-family homes. The changes are intended to make housing more affordable and accessible for low-income residents and help to reduce sprawl by encouraging development in already urbanized areas.

Proponents of YIMBY zoning reforms point out that restrictive zoning policies have historically been used to keep certain people, including low-income and minority populations, out of certain neighborhoods. Zoning laws can also contribute to environmental problems, such as increased carbon emissions from longer commutes and the loss of green spaces due to urban sprawl. (Vox, 2022)

YIMBY advocates in the region have found success in several cities, including Boise, Idaho, and Salt Lake City, Utah, where zoning reform measures have been passed in recent years. These reforms have also faced pushback from some residents who worry about the potential impacts on their neighborhoods, such as increased traffic and noise, but new approaches are needed to address the ongoing nation-wide housing crisis. (Bloomberg, 2023)

Share On