Dec 12 2021

Cities Concerned About Increasing Housing Densities Devise Workarounds

Sustainability, Neighborhood Cohesion and Open Space Lose Out to Density?

Change is stressful, and major change in the neighborhoods of California is coming. Although the State is awash in surplus billions and could afford to plan a public/private new town developed to provide sustainable life for a population of up to a million.  Instead, the State chose to put the financial cost and construction responsibility on individual citizens.  Doubling or tripling the populations of built-out traditional neighborhoods has been tried and frequently resulted in slums.

California laws regarding splitting single-family lots and placing two or more housing units on existing single-family lots have stirred opposition by many California cities.  Workarounds are being creatively devised in these cities to halt dramatic changes to their neighborhoods and cities.

Some cities are limiting the height of structures, declaring areas historic, and limiting the square footage of Accessory Dwelling Units.  Other allowable workarounds are being developed by many California City Councils.

Unlike these other California cities Piedmont Planners and the Piedmont City Council have, to date, fully embraced the imminent changes to Piedmont neighborhoods and single-family residences by planning an increase to housing density throughout Piedmont in order to add 587 new housing units.

Further information is in the November 24, 2021 San Francisco Chronicle article linked below:

One Response to “Cities Concerned About Increasing Housing Densities Devise Workarounds”

  1. Absent subsidies or condemnation power, I suspect that there may be little to fear from Piedmont’s densification efforts. Some homes may be turned into duplexes, and ADUs will be common, but the economics are not supportive of large high density projects. Piedmont is too builtout, and the land acquisition costs are generally too high to assemble sites for large apartments. The mandated Housing Element process requires a good faith effort to allow the achievement of the RHNA numbers, but not that such numbers of new units actually be achieved. The city is going through a process that it has to do, but there should be little fear of slums ever developing when a 90 year old bungalow on a 4000 square foot lot rapidly sells for $2 million dollars.

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