Zoning

Joe Biden Takes Another Stab at Zoning Reform

The administration is proposing to spend $10 billion over ten years incentivizing local and state governments to remove regulatory barriers to new housing construction.

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Two years into his administration, President Joe Biden has thus far failed to eliminate "the suburban lifestyle dream"—something former President Donald Trump often said he was plotting to do. But a new proposed grant program from the White House aims to make that dream a little more affordable by encouraging localities to eliminate regulatory barriers to new home construction.

The language of the latest proposal has excited some zoning reformers who want to see the federal government take a more active role in reducing local restrictions on housing supply. But previous ideas from the administration have been watered down and stalled in Congress.

Tucked away in the congressional justification of Biden's budget request for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a proposed 10-year, $35 billion Housing Supply Fund, with $10 billion of that dedicated to grants to "reduce affordable housing barriers."

America is short some 3.8 million homes, reads the HUD budget document first reported on by Route Fifty, resulting "in rental units and homeownership being unaffordable, and often unattainable for millions of Americans." The department pins some of the blame for this housing deficit, and attendant higher housing costs, on "local regulations, zoning policies, and insufficient infrastructure."

As a solution, HUD is proposing to give some of that $10 billion to states and localities that adopt "housing-forward policies and practices to remove barriers to the development of affordable housing." That money could then be spent on "street improvements, traffic control measures, and water and sewer lines." That money could also be available to jurisdictions to cover the planning costs that go into adopting "housing-forward" policies.

"We know local and state leaders are critical to enabling housing development," a HUD spokesperson tells Reason. "The proposed fund will provide incentives to leaders taking the steps necessary to streamline production in order to reduce the time and cost to build."

The department spokesperson specifically named California and Massachusetts as two states that "have made significant strides in lowering barriers to production through their regulatory infrastructure."

Last year, the California Legislature passed laws legalizing duplexes on formerly single-family-zoned land statewide and streamlining the ability of local governments to zone for smaller apartment buildings in urban areas. Massachusetts implemented a new law this year that requires localities to allow apartment buildings near transit stops.

The idea behind HUD's latest proposal, says Mike Kingsella of Up For Growth Action, is to provide money on the front and back ends of the zoning reform process.

Providing grants to localities that initiate zoning reform, he says, would be helpful for fast-growing cities like Austin, Texas. There, almost any new development bumps up against the limits of the city's current, decades-old zoning codes.

"It's really resource-intensive to take an old zoning code like that and modernize it with a lens toward eliminating barriers," he tells Reason. Federal money can incentivize cities like that to undertake a wholesale rewrite.

Even when jurisdictions do adopt planning reforms aimed at deregulating housing production, individual projects can still face opposition from local activists worried about clogged streets and overcrowded parks and schools.

With federal money available for the "production of infrastructure that supports community growth," Kingsella says Biden's proposal is about "taking arguments off the table" when it comes to localities adopting zoning reforms.

The proposal is a combination of two previous federal zoning grant programs that were previously floated in Congress.

The first is the technical assistance grant program included in the Housing Supply and Affordability Act, first introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.), Rob Portman (R–Ohio), and Tim Kaine (D–Va.) in March 2021. Their bill would provide $1.5 billion over five years to jurisdictions to develop and implement housing plans that reduce barriers to affordable housing.

The second is a program included in Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D–Mass.) Housing and Economic Mobility Act, first introduced in 2018. That bill would have made $10 billion in incentives available to jurisdictions that adopted local land use reforms (not all of which would have to be deregulatory). Grantees could then use that money on a whole host of activities, whether that's fixing up schools or building new parks.

A HUD spokesperson says that it's too early in the process to estimate how much of that $10 billion would fund technical assistance grants and how much would go toward jurisdictions that had already adopted reforms.

"We have left room in the proposal to reward those who have taken significant steps as well as encourage those who have just begun to assess the impact of their policy and practices on the availability of quality, affordable housing for their residents," they tell Reason.

A third tactic of conditioning existing federal transportation and housing spending on localities adopting zoning reforms was endorsed by Biden on the campaign trail. It thus far hasn't worked its way into any of the president's proposals since he took office.

Neither Warren nor Klobuchar's bills have gone far in Congress on their own. The Biden administration has also been trying to attach some sort of zoning grant program to its big spending initiatives without much success.

In March 2021, the White House proposed a competitive grant program to reward localities that take "concrete steps" to reduce barriers to new housing—specifically naming apartment bans, large minimum lot sizes, and parking minimums—as part of Biden's American Jobs Plan. A June 2021 White House document put a name and a number on the idea: a $5 billion Unlocking Possibilities Program.

Eventually, a scaled-down $1.6 billion Unlocking Possibilities program was included in the Build Back Better Act. But housing policy experts criticized the legislative language creating that program as much too broad. Instead of rewarding localities for eliminating harmful regulations, it dolled out money to do run-of-the-mill urban planning.

"There is almost no planning exercise undertaken by any planning consultant or city that would not qualify under this text," wrote Salim Furth, a senior research fellow at George Mason University's Mercatus Center, in The Bridge. "A planning consultant could hardly ask for a more perfectly targeted subsidy."

The Build Back Better Act has officially stalled in Congress—and with it the Unlocking Possibilities Program. Now, the Biden administration is trying again with its request for a Housing Supply Fund.

Furth tells Reason that the latest language in the White House's budget proposal is much more encouraging.

"I think this is really well-conceived," he says. "Instead of targeting [just] planning, which can never guarantee an outcome, it is targeting things that potentially really can ease the growing pains of removing barriers to housing."

There are ways to make these programs more targeted still.

Emily Hamilton, another Mercatus researcher, has suggested that federal zoning grants only be made available to jurisdictions that issue building permits and that funding only go toward places that are actually issuing lots of permits for new housing.

Biden's proposal doesn't condition grants on market outcomes. It also makes money available to states, which typically don't issue building permits.

Furth says targeting outcomes like that is ideal, but not necessary for the $10 billion program that Biden is proposing. The relatively small amount of proposed funding and the growing number of localities getting serious about eliminating housing barriers make it more likely that money will flow to jurisdictions adopting the best reforms, he says.

Still, Furth cautions that everything hinges on what Congress does.

"We know that there's a huge gap between budget proposals and what becomes law," he says.

Kingsella says the inclusion of this grant program in the budget proposal makes it more likely that zoning reform might pass.

"We're talking about must-pass legislation. Congress is going to have to pass a budget," he says. "The exciting element around this proposal is the president and HUD has made it clear that housing production and the elimination of exclusionary housing and land use policies remain a very important and high priority."

Obviously, the administration's proposal is not perfectly, or even particularly, libertarian. It still involves new federal spending. Additionally, only $10 billion of the $35 billion Housing Supply Fund would be aimed at incentivizing local deregulation. The other $25 billion would go toward subsidizing the construction of housing that, per HUD, "is not currently incentivized by the market."

Given the damage that local restrictions on housing supply have caused to housing affordability, however, this is one area where the federal government could potentially play a constructive, deregulatory role.

NEXT: The FDA's Menthol Cigarette Ban Is a 'Racial Justice' Issue, but Not in the Way Its Supporters Mean

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  1. Still no coverage of the DHS forming a Ministry of Truth. I could have written an article on it in ten minutes. Why the silence Reason???

    1. This is the eight story Reason has published today since the news broke and not a single peep on what is the what is probably the biggest libertarian subject in my four and a half decades of life. But we have stories on menthol cigarettes and Trump had. Nothing to see here, right Reason???

      1. My only hope is that they have a good writer working on it now. I can only think stossel, but perhaps the will bring back postrel or other heave hitters for this

        1. Given the past couple years, what we'll get instead is a story that the DHS board of disinformation is not a ministry of truth and this is just another example of Republican pounce.

          1. "The government is entitled to its own opinions!"

            1. “A source you can trust”.

      2. Local story.

      3. soldier, the proposed agency to combat disinformation, specifically aimed at that from Russia and what potential immigrants receive in other countries has no enforcement powers. Government of all types produces information all the time at all levels, so relax. This is not what you are imagining and is by the description not even aimed at domestic producers of information.

        https://news.yahoo.com/disinformation-board-tackle-russia-migrant-115737111.html

    2. You have an open platform right here. Tell us all about it.

      1. If you don't believe this move by DHS is anti-liberty and a big fucking deal, then you ain't a fucking libertarian or classical liberal. Your damn straight I'll keep beating this drum. It's tantamount to the government controlling the narrative and the most underhanded, anti-liberty, dystopian move I've ever seen the government make. This is so fucking Orwellian it isn't even funny. And Reason can't be bothered to mention it?

        1. I just Googled it. There is PLENTY of coverage out there! Does Reason have to cover EVERYTHING?

          A USA propaganda agency is indeed scary! So is Trump and his Big Lie! If you were less partisan, you would acknowledge that!

          Has the Biden Administration yet taken to systematically, methodically, repeatedly telling Big Lies IN COURT, like Trump supporters have done?

          Trump's Big Lie (stolen elections of course) is the heart and core of ALL of this! And it IS a Big Lie, for all but the utterly deluded! Or for greedy lying lawyer-scum, who will tell ANY lie, even in court, if you PAY them enough!

          https://reason.com/2022/02/11/sidney-powell-disowns-her-kraken-saying-she-is-not-responsible-for-her-phony-story-of-a-stolen-election/?comments=true#comments (Yet another Powell article)

          https://reason.com/2021/03/23/sidney-powell-says-shes-not-guilty-of-defamation-because-no-reasonable-person-would-have-believed-her-outlandish-election-conspiracy-theory/
          Sidney Powell Says She’s Not Guilty of Defamation Because ‘No Reasonable Person’ Would Have Believed Her ‘Outlandish’ Election Conspiracy Theory

          1. Not EVERYTHING, but something this big and liberty-affecting, especially in the USA, yeah!

            1. They covered it now... See https://reason.com/2022/04/29/aoc-defends-due-process-as-colleagues-greenlight-asset-seizure-bill/ ... Of course, this coverage (complete with snide comments about it, which I do agree with) is NEVER critical enough (or detailed enough) for the hyper-partisans!

              My comment posted there for JesseBahnFuhrer:

              Has it ever occurred to your dim bulb that if EVERYTHING is THE WORST THING EVER, then NOTHING is the worst thing? Shrill wrong-nut who cried "wolf", all day every day?

        2. Once again our resident idiot sqrsly crawls out from under his slimy rock to post another "but Trump" diatribe and saying Reason doesn't need to cover what is by far one of the biggest anti-liberty movements ever by our government and definitely anti-libertarian, because Orange Man Bad. Fuck, we don't need to spend money on why meth is bad, we can just repost fucking Sqrsly posts. That'll scare everyone straight.

          1. And it's funny he accuses me of being partisan for criticizing an actual Orwellian, authoritarian action by the Democrats and Biden, and his counter is Trump said stuff he doesn't believe. Last time I checked Trump's statements are protected speech.... For now.

            1. Then Biden and his new agency's speech is free speech as well, right? I mean, it IS a waste of money, adding that on top of all of the press secretaries of all of the branches of Government Almighty! But WHOSE freedoms (other than the taxpayers) are being taken away, by this new agency? Anyone been punished for wrong-speak? Do you REALLY think that kind of thing is going to be dished out by this new agency? ... I think thou doth protest too much. Biden isn't trying to replace democracy with mobocracy, like was-is the case with Trump, Trumpaloos, and trumpanzees gone apeshit!

            2. And now the fucking idiot thinks creating a government agency to police "disinformation" is free speech the same as a private citizen saying the election was stolen. You can't make this shit up people, he actually is that fucking clueless.

              1. Trump was NO private citizen when He first started the Big Lie, ignoramus!

                Der TrumpfenFuhrer ***IS*** responsible for agitating for democracy to be replaced by mobocracy!
                https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/24/politics/trump-election-warnings-leaving-office/index.html
                A list of the times Trump has said he won’t accept the election results or leave office if he loses.

                Essential heart and core of the LIE by Trump: “ANY election results not confirming MEEE as Your Emperor, MUST be fraudulent!”
                September 13 rally: “The Democrats are trying to rig this election because that’s the only way they’re going to win,” he said.

                Trump’s constant re-telling and supporting the Big Lie (any election not electing Trump is “stolen”) set up the environment for this (insurrection riot) to happen. He shares the blame. Boys will be boys? Insurrectionists will be insurrectionists, trumpanzees gone apeshit will be trumpanzees gone apeshit, so let’s forgive and forget? Poor Trump was misunderstood? Does that sound good and right and true?

                It really should immediately make us think of Krystallnacht. Hitler and the NAZIs set up for this by constantly blaming Jews for all things bad. Jew-haters will be Jew-haters, so let’s forgive and forget? Poor Hitler was misunderstood? Does that sound good and right and true?

          2. I wish Sqrlsy was on meth, then he might actually be entertainingly zany instead of a tiresomely repetitive try-hard.

            1. Thanks for the vacuous Claptrap, Claptrap!

              (Vacuous means empty-headed, BTW.)

              1. You would know, being a demonstrated expert in vacuity.

          3. "...because Orange Man Bad."

            NOTHING is as stale as “orange man bad”!
            (With the implied idea being that “anyone who says bad things about Orange Man, no matter HOW long and well-documented the list of Trump evils may be, such bad-things-sayer must be a stupid moron”).

            Albert Einstein delivers a long lecture with 553 equations and tons of evidence. Conservative moron will say that Einstein said “stuff and stuff is relative”, and walk smugly away, thinking that they have “summarized” Einstein!

            Conservative moron will ATTEMPT TO START to tour Holocaust museums and “summarize” by saying “Mustache Man Bad”! (And skip the tour, lest they might actually learn something).

            This shows the utter contempt that conservatives hold the rest of us in! “Here, dummy, I can summarize ALL of the encyclopedic knowledge that has been gathered concerning Der TrumpfenFuhrer, so that YOU (dumbshit) will NOT have to trouble your pretty little head, studying all that boring stuff! It just amounts to Orange Man Bad, end of story!”

            Don’t study medicine or boring medical texts… I will summarize it for you! “The human body is made of icky pus and smegma, slimy blood and mucus, and icky poop!”

            Law summary: “He or she who habeas the corpus, must take proper care of it.”

            Computers? Stop studying, you fool! “Learn to code; garbage in, garbage out; just be logical!”

            Electrical Hardware Engineering? “Don’t stick your diode in an anode! Sparks is as sparks does!”

            And then conservatives and other Trumptatorshit worshippers and ignorance worshippers have the NERVE to say, “We need more SKILLED AND TALENTED immigrants and fewer ignorant ones coming into the USA!”!

            1. Then why do you keep bringing him up?

    3. Did you expect anything more from Reason?

      1. I thought this might be a big enough news story to register with them. If at least to continue to pretend they're libertarian. I mean anytime a conservative mentions section 203 they run multiple stories on it for days on end. This is far more dangerous than repealing section 203. And not a fucking peep. Not a passing mention. No, instead their feature story is a rehash of why student loan forgiveness is a bad idea (covered ad nauseam) and they published a story on how Republicans questioning the 2020 elections is dangerous (to whom?).

        1. No more mean tweets.

          1. No more “misinformation “.

    4. I got you bro. I didn't have much time but it will at least get the conversation going.

      https://simulationcommander.substack.com/p/ministry-of-truth-no-longer-hyperbole

      1. I do not even recognize my own country anymore. It is telling that the new head of this board worked at the Wilson Center, considering Wilson's love of censorship.

        1. soldier, that cute quote is from the NR article. Maybe attribution is in order.

    5. Do you think that, maybe, just possibly, you are blowing things out of proportion here?

      That this "Disinformation Board" may not be a good idea, but that perhaps maybe it is not the LIBERTY-CRUSHING ONSET OF 1984 that some have claimed it to be?

      1. No. The government creating a board to police “disinformation” is actual, legitimate cause for concern.

    6. Also, what *exactly* do you expect from Reason? If you want a thoughtful article on the subject, that will take more than 10 minutes. Maybe, the rational thing to do, is instead of hyperventilating and losing one's shit over a news story that is literally only hours old, one could get the facts, understand the arguments, and write something thoughtful on the matter? If so, it will take more than 10 minutes. If you just want an outlet that will confirm your hysteria, then there are plenty of right-wing outlets that will cater to you.

      1. It doesn't take more than about 10 minutes for a skilled writer to write a scathing essay explaining why a "Disinformation Board" is anathema to anyone who believes in freedom of expression.

    7. And of course the totally radical individualist Jeffy rushes on the field to run coverage for Biden once again. Sure, creating a government agency to police the internet for disinformation is totally benign and nothing to worry about. I'm sure if Trump had done the same thing, he would say the same thing, right? Fucking unbelievable the amount of cope by Jeffy and Sqrsly running cover for Biden creating a ministry of truth. Even they don't believe their shit folks. They know what this means but they have to make excuses for it, or otherwise they'd be forced to realize who the real fascists party is.

      1. Maybe you should calm down and actually read what I wrote.

      2. The gray box formerly known as LyingJeffy is still running cover for Biden and his Ministry of Truth I see.

      3. Also just FYI the story is 24 hours old. Just to be clear. It came out yesterday in Congressional testimony and was the leading story at Fox and other sites as early as 8 am MST today. This story that we are commenting was posted after 3 pm MST (7 hours later) so no, it isn't like Reason can't have addressed it in 7 hours when multiple other news agencies have been running the story all day.

        1. It's shit like this why LyingJeffy is now a gray box along with Sqrsly. They can't have a truly intellectually honest conversation. It is always disingenuous lying to protect the left while claiming to be libertarians. I mean we have a President who just literally created a department of the federal government to police "disinformation" on the internet and these two are still trying to pretend there is nothing to worry about and playing whataboutism regarding Trump. Yeah, don't pay attention to the man behind the curtain. This is literally what the ChiComs do, government policing the internet for "disinformation". It's literally what despots throughout history have done (government controlling information). And on top of all of this several Democratic Senators are now calling to force Musk to testify in front of the Senate on what his plans are for Twitter and proposing laws to monitor and control social media. But Orange Man Bad.

          1. And to go further, Psaki said today that at least some of the duties of this board of disinformation will be policing any disinformation during elections. That sounds not at all totalitarian. Not a bit, you're right graybox.

          2. "They can't have a truly intellectually honest conversation."

            In this case you don't WANT an intellectually honest conversation. You want someone to confirm your feelings.

            1. Please enlighten the class what the intellectually honest counter argument is to the government deciding they have the power to police free speech on the internet?

        2. Oh so you do read my comments. So why have me on mute? Oh wait I know. It's so you can performatively declare that I'm on mute.

          And I am not "running cover" for anyone. I am just not joining in the hysteria. Perhaps we should know more about precisely what is going on before making sweeping conclusions.

        3. And I don't even need to read his comments to know exactly what kind of bullshit he will be peddling because it's fucking obvious. He's a gray box but I can guess what he will say because it will be whatever it takes to defend the fucking left. They could be calling for the killing of undesirables and Jeffy would be defending them.

          1. Because he always defends the left, no matter what they say or do, and no matter how anti-liberty it is, having a meaningful discussion with him is pointless. Like I stated he would defend the left if they were calling for outright genocide. And he would lie about it later.

            1. You're not thinking straight.
              Go to bed.

          2. Anybody who tries to excuse a government agency created to police "disinformation" is not a libertarian, a classical liberal or someone who believes in the 1A. Anyone who tries to downplay this move is someone that's okay with government policing speech. That is real totalitarianism. That is real fascism. That is what despots do. Anyone who tries to play this off as no big deal or not a bad thing obviously supports the government deciding what is the truth. And then it is only a short step to punishing people for saying something the government rules is disinformation.

            1. Also, just so we are aware of the timeline, this came out just days after Musk bought Twitter with plans to end it's censorship. Now the Biden administration announces a new Board of Disinformation to monitor the internet. I'm not sure how anyone could defend that and call themselves a friend of liberty.

              1. So Musk buys Twitter and promises to make it a true free speech platform. Biden's administration announces the formation of a board of disinformation to police the internet. Then when people start complaining about that, (including Musk) the Senate Democrats start demanding Musk testify in front of the Senate on his plans for Twitter and threaten legislation to control social media and what it can allow and who can own it. And LyingJeffy and Sqrsly thinks this is no big deal folks. Just so we're clear.

                1. Why do you feel the need to defend the government creating a board to "combat disinformation on the internet"? Why? Would you be so blasey if Trump had created this board? I doubt it. You fucking authoritarian bootlicker.

                  1. And I've given plenty of examples of what they are going to do. And yes I unmuted you for this one reply, to see how you can continue to defend this.

                    1. As of right now, my position on this board is, "I don't have a lot of info about it, based on what I do know it seems like a bad idea, but I will wait until I have more information before forming any more definitive conclusions. "

                      Is that clear enough for you?

                      Now do kindly apologize for the lies and slander about me all evening.

                    2. No, there is no need to wait to condemn the government doing anything official to "combat disinformation" and I unmuted you and just looked back at your previous posts. You didn't say it was a bad idea until I shamed you into it. You defended it full throated until you were embarrassed into saying it might be a bad idea. Just admit you're a fucking government bootlicker.

                    3. And I haven't lied once about you looking back at your earlier posts. I fully stated even without reading exactly what your position was now you are trying to act like you didn't defend it all evening. You are a fucking liar. Period. And everyone fucking knows it. You are a fucking leftist apologists and a fucking liar. Because not a single thing I posted wasn't true. It's just now that you give the most limp wristed condemnation possible. Your fucking lying fucking weasel.

              2. Do you know what this new board will actually DO? what specifically is its charge? Will they have the power to arrest ot fine people? If so on what basis? This matters, because it is the difference between merely "bad idea" and "OMG MINISTRY OF TRUTH ". It would be nice to have some details about what this new board is actually all about, don't you think?

          3. Another favorite tactic of leftist like LyingJeffy is to accuse the poster that points out totalitarian actions by the left of being intellectually deficient or bigots or racists. This usually indicates that they can't actually defend the lefts actions so they instead must impeach the motives of the person pointing out the totalitarian actions. LyingJeffy knows that a government run agency aimed at policing speech on the internet looking for what the government considers "disinformation" is straight up dystopian Orwellian despot actions. So they must downplay the seriousness and or impeach the character of those who are speaking out against it. It's straight out of Alinsky's handbook.

            1. He's still defending this board. The very fact that Biden has created a board, that in their own description, will be tasked with fighting disinformation on the internet is damning enough. It doesn't matter anything past that. It's not the fucking governments job, especially our government, to police or combat information that the government rules as disinformation. Anyone who still defends this is an authoritarian bootlicker.

              1. And just to beat a dead horse, I better never see another post calling Republicans totalitarians from LyingJeffy when they propose changing section 230 after he spent this entire night defending the formation of a government agency to monitor and combat disinformation on the internet.

              2. I never defended this board. You are the one lying and slandering me with impunity here. You are the one behaving badly. You are the one who is behaving as badly as the TDS crowd during Trump, taking every action of his and hyperventilating and blowing it up as fascism incarnate. You need to calm down, engage your brain, knock off the insults and slander and bad behavior and start acting like a rational human being.

                1. Bullshit. You defended, stated above that it may not be that bad. That is fucking defending it you fucking asshole. Don't fucking gaslight me. You are so full of fucking shit. You now offer a limp wristed fucking condemnation after multiple posts defending it and stating I was freaking out about nothing, that I don't know enough to be worried about it, that it may not be that bad etc. That is fucking defending it, and anyone with an above room temperature IQ is well aware that you were defending it. Now you're fucking gas lighting trying to state you weren't defending it all along and excusing Biden for creating this monstrosity and Orwellian agency. You fucking piece of shit gaslighting mother fucker. It's so fucking obvious what your fucking doing. Stop trying to insult my intelligence by being so fucking obviously disingenuous with your fucking gas lighting. Fuck off and die. I've never said that to anyone but I am saying it to you. Fuck off and die you fucking lying fucking gaslighting mother fucker.

      4. soldier, your guy was a 24/7 presence on line claiming disinformation. WTF are you talking about? This is a proposed agency with no enforcement powers aimed specifically at Russian disinformation and disinformation sent to potential immigrants - meaning not yet even in the US - which may falsely encourage their attempts to gain entry.

        What's the problem?

  2. So, the government is going to bribe Democratic municipalities to allow multi-family housing. One wonders why, with all their concern for the poor, Democrats aren't already doing this (not really).

  3. "The department spokesperson specifically named California and Massachusetts as two states that "have made significant strides in lowering barriers to production through their regulatory infrastructure."
    Yay the went from actively raping developers while pouring sugar into their gas tank to only actively raping them! Great job!

    1. With $10Bil, Los Angeles could build enough new housing units to accommodate probably 3-5% of the local homeless population, and be ready to break ground on those projects around the same time that Newsom's ban on new gas cars gets pushed back a few more years...

      Then it's just a matter of finding homeless who will accept them; in L.A., even homelessness involves a multi-tiered class stratification. Probably some of the people currently living in their cars. The van dwellers might not want to give up their beachfront location, the RV dwellers would probably expect to have oversize parking available on site. The tent-dwellers might go for it if they're new enough to it that they haven't been traumatized into self-medicating or other issues. Most of the real street-people in L.A. are either addicts, mentally ill, or both and tend to refuse the shelter beds that are already available because the junkies don't want to have to go clean and the crazies won't abide being separated from their collections of random junk and/or human feces.

  4. First of all, almost all zoning is bullshit. Secondly, fed.gov getting involved in any way, shape, or form of zoning at the state or local level is about as un-libertarian you can get.

    1. How about ignoring the Biden administration forming a Board of Disinformation at the DHS to combat disinformation on the internet?

      1. The Board of Disinformation had announced that The Board of Disinformation does not exist, and is in fact a Russian fabrication.

        1. Yeah, sounds about right anymore. And even though it doesn't exist, it's existence is a good thing.

          1. Schroedinger's Board of Disinformation both exists and doesn't exist at the same time.

            1. Don’t look in the box!

            2. The Cat's dead man

        2. Run by a Ukranian Bolshie..what could go wrong. Somethign in the water in eastern europe..so many of the immigrants from there are socialist, communist or cultural marxist..you gotta ask why

          1. Besides shameless hackery, her primary qualifications are steely eyes, a strong jawline and copious amounts of adult acne. She needs to be taken seriously.

            so many of the immigrants from there are socialist, communist or cultural marxist..

            Wat

  5. Joe Biden Takes Another Stab

    Don't worry. It was a soup spoon.

  6. 3.8 million housing shortage? Sorta matches the number for the Unconstipated Tourists that wandered in the last 2 years.

    1. Racist!

  7. The way to stop having regulatory barriers is to stop having regulatory barriers.

  8. This is not something that the federal government should do. It's a state thing.

    California has tried to relax some of the rules, but it turns into a NIMBY issue. I wouldn't want a triplex built next to my house.

    1. It no longer matters what you want.

  9. The department spokesperson specifically named California and Massachusetts as two states that "have made significant strides in lowering barriers to production through their regulatory infrastructure."

    Last year, the California Legislature passed laws legalizing duplexes on formerly single-family-zoned land statewide and streamlining the ability of local governments to zone for smaller apartment buildings in urban areas. Massachusetts implemented a new law this year that requires localities to allow apartment buildings near transit stops.

    You can't tell a damn thing after only one year, so what makes them think California and Massachusetts have made "significant strides"? According to their model of human behavior, perhaps, but we all know their models are shit.

    1. The department named two states where housing is obscenely expensive and poor people are only allowed to live where the rich urbanites can't see them.

  10. I suppose, here's hoping. This sounds like it's going to turn into a payout to folks though. I mean, it explicitly is a payout, but I think that the idea that the right variables are set here and now this is a good subsidy is probably not going to pan out.
    Here's hoping though.

    1. Hell, I had high hopes when the Thatcher administration sold a lot of council housing to their tenants for either 0 or far below anticipated market price. Heck, it was privatization, right? But it turned out not to promote more market behavior by more people and get them to treat their property with care; instead it portended what would've been infinite rounds of government acquisition of real estate followed by giveaways, so it was not repeated.

      1. Oh, I forgot part of the motivation — that of both the Conservatives and me: that as property owners, the residents would then vote more Conservative (and hence more libertarian).

  11. —something former President Donald Trump often said he was plotting to do. But a new proposed grant program from the White House aims to make that dream a little more affordable by encouraging localities to eliminate regulatory barriers to new home construction.

    Just to hip you to some reality meta action, the suburbs are (generally) the affordable areas. That's why people move to them. When people get priced out of San Francisco because they can't afford a $3000 a month efficiency sleep box while stepping over needles and human poop, they go to the suburbs where they can have a 2000 square foot ranch style home with a slightly-larger-than-a-postage-stamp yard for only $1900 a month.

    If you're going to tackle housing affordability, we need to start here.

    SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 17 2015:Traffic in San Francisco. It has a density of about 18,187 people per square mile (7,022 people per km2) making it 2nd-most densely populated city in US...</blockquote

    1. When people get priced out of San Francisco because they can't afford a $3000 a month efficiency sleep box while stepping over needles and human poop, they go to the suburbs where they can have a 2000 square foot ranch style home with a slightly-larger-than-a-postage-stamp yard for only $1900 a month.

      ^

    2. You make a bit of a point, Diane(Paul), but I live in a suburb of San Francisco and the house across the street, less than 2000 sqft, but on a ¼ acre lot, rents for $4,500 a month.
      We don't have to step over shit-covered bums all the time, however, so, there's that.

  12. Obviously, the administration's proposal is not perfectly, or even particularly, libertarian.

    Yeah, I'm not 100% sure here why "removing/eliminating/simplifying" requires federal grants. It's like Reason's decades of reporting around unintended consequences whenever there is a pile of money made available to "make things better" is being forgotten. Everyone even remotely libertarian, hell anyone of no particular political persuasion at all, including but not limited to revolutionary Marxists should be asking the question: how can all this be corrupted?

    Just because you haven't yet figured out how it will be corrupted doesn't mean it won't be.

    1. One federal thing I've thought might help is just returning federal lands to the states. Particularly in Western states where many have a 1/3rd or more of its total land held by the federal government.
      Though, where it is is relevant of course and may not help too much in cities.

  13. Anyone who actually thinks California has made significant strides to lowering barriers to development has proven that their organs can be ethically harvested, because they're certainly brain dead.

  14. Today has been a banner day at Reason.

  15. "Two years into his administration, President Joe Biden has thus far failed to eliminate 'the suburban lifestyle dream...'"

    Fucking Joe Manchin ruins everything.

  16. First local areas should be able to set zoning laws. Don't like them..dont move there. Second HUD should be "nuked"..it is a totally useless agency that just funds grifters..Hastening Urban Decline should be it's name. Every damn agency created by the degenerate LBJ should be shut down. Hell every agency created after 1950 should be shut down.

    1. 1932.

      1. And just for good measure any federal police agency not authorized by the Constitution, which means only the Postal Inspectors and the Marshal's office would be still around.

  17. I am kinda wondering why there is a HUD in the first place.

    But if HUD is to exist and spend money, I suppose this is a not unobjectionable way for it to spend its money.

  18. Fighting single family zoning laws is the new leftist urban planner mantra that they share with libertarians. Move to Houston if that's your dream world? Fine to claim that old SF neighborhoods are just remnants of an oppressor system meant to fuck the little guy, but the people living there have invested their largest lifetime purchase - with upkeep - because they like being there. An honest discussion - not an urban planner dream discussion of densities needed for public transportation and the supposedly new cheap housing resulting from dividing lots - dream on - should at least address the abandonment of those neighborhoods.

    Fuck the leftist urban planners and the libertarians for trying to impose this ideologically driven bullshit on real people in the real world.

    1. "Move to Houston" you say? Houston is one city in the entire country that has its peculiar system of Planning. Yes, cities probably need some kind of planning. But Houston has adopted another plan and that is to allow developers to create communities that are planned in way that people can choose to live in or reject.

    2. Though Houston has no zoning, they still have restrictive land covenants and benefit from state/fed DOT grants to fund their autocentric layout

  19. My final word on this, of course, is that I can't really quite imagine why Reason cares what Joe (Lets go Brandon) Biden thinks about zoning issues.

    I doubt that neither the most conservative nor "progressive" (I have stated above my reasons why I wonder why anyone today would want to identify as a "progressive") Justice on today's Supreme Court would find that Federal interference in local land planning is constitutional.

  20. Zoning gives a homeowner protection against nuisance creation in a neighborhood. I have an old half acre urban lot with a ranch style home and a private back yard. The R4 zoning kept to the rest of the homes consistent with mine and increased all our property values. Reducing zoning is a public taking of private property. Will I be compensated?

    1. You are not entitled to a property value, only the actual property. A home is not an investment you speculate on, it's a place to live. Socialists like yourself are the reason why we have a housing crisis.

      There are separate nuisance ordinances that can regulate noise. But allowing duplexes and townhouses does nothing to decrease the livability and peace of the neighborhood.

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