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Obama Calls on Cities to Loosen Zoning Restrictions

  • September 26, 2016

by Nena Perry-Brown

Obama Calls on Cities to Loosen Zoning Restrictions: Figure 1

There has been a lot of talk lately about the effect of stringent zoning laws on housing development across the country, and now President Obama is making his voice heard on the issue.

As first reported by POLITICO, the Obama administration is publishing a “toolkit” paper on Monday that asserts that restrictive zoning laws in many cities and counties are driving up rent and income inequality while suppressing overall economic growth. The paper calls on local policy leaders to explore reforming the rules governing housing, land use and construction in order to make it easier to acquire permits and create or operate accessory dwelling units.

“In more and more regions across the country, local and neighborhood leaders have said yes in our backyard,” the paper states. “We need to break down the rules that stand in the way of building new housing.”

This ask goes hand-in-hand with a $300 million allotment request in the administration’s 2017 budget; that money would go toward grants for mayors to update their zoning laws. Additionally, the Department of Transportation is starting to consider area housing plans when approving funds for various transit projects.

DC may be slightly ahead of the curve with the zoning overhaul implemented earlier this month, which includes broader permissions for accessory apartments and alley dwellings. However, the city’s permitting process leaves much to be desired and the Height Act continues to govern critical aspects of development here.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/obama_calls_on_cities_to_loosen_zoning_restrictions/11720

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