Sacramento — The State Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) issued a report today entitled “Do Communities Adequately Plan for Housing” that evaluated the challenges faced in meeting the demand for housing construction and local government’s role in planning for housing. The report also highlights the importance of engaging “residents to embrace large-scale growth.” The following statement can be attributed to Carolyn Coleman, executive director of the League of California Cities®:
“Local elected leaders are acutely aware of the severity of California’s housing affordability crisis and our role in fashioning solutions. While numerous factors are contributing to the problem, it is agreed that more needs to be done to create a path for and streamline new housing construction.
“The League is supporting a package of legislative reforms that would assist local governments to approve housing, streamline the process, and increase funding for affordable housing and supporting infrastructure.
We think it is important that the LAO report also recognizes that more government mandates alone won’t solve the problem, and we need to structure solutions that also bring our residents more fully into the discussion. We believe the best approach is to engage our residents on the front-end of the planning process, ensure our plans and environmental documents are up to date, and then have developers adhere to those plans and develop the housing our communities need.
When the LAO report says “Any major changes in how communities plan for housing will require their active participation and a shift in how local residents view new housing …” we agree.
“For example, we support Senate Bill 540 (Roth), which will help streamline housing project approvals without compromising the rights of citizens to participate in local land-use decisions. By having the planning and necessary environmental reviews and public engagement occur at the front-end, SB 540 ensures housing developments within these planned areas are able to proceed in an expedited manner.”
“It is important to remember that cities do not build homes. There are many realities to investment decisions made by the private housing market we don’t control, and the scarce resources available for affordable housing must also be taken into account. Still, cities recognize the important role we play in planning for and approving needed housing, and we appreciate the LAO’s recognition that we also need to do so in ways that bring our residents along. The League of California Cities and its member cities stand ready to be part of responsible solutions.”
Established in 1898, the League of California Cities is a nonprofit statewide association that advocates for cities with the state and federal governments and provides education and training services to elected and appointed city officials.