California homeowners and neighborhood groups are filing lawsuits against the state’s major cities, demanding they roll back some of their zoning restrictions for more housing development. While the nation’s most populous state, California ranks 49th in the number of housing units per capita. Low inventory has pushed home prices in California 2.5 times higher than the U.S. median.
“California’s complex land-use and regulatory structure gives opponents of development extraordinary powers to stymie new projects,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “Environmental reviews intended to preserve California’s picturesque coastline and hillsides also provide a means for residents to challenge ordinary development proposals. If a review finds adverse impacts on parking, traffic, noise, or air quality, elected officials can’t approve it until they have addressed opponents’ concerns. Even after a project is approved, opponents can file environmental challenges, a process that can delay projects by two to four years.”
Source: “California Housing Crunch Prompts Push to Allow Building,” The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 25, 2017)