Obama takes on zoning laws in bid to build more housing, spur growth

Grant Cunningham, Monday, September 26, 2016

In a move bound to please New Urbanists and friends of the movement, President Obama this week pressed for rezoning in urban places throughout the country. As the end of his term nears, the President and his administration have published guidelines on how to deliver this change, citing concerns about efficiency and affordable housing.

Politico reporter Lorraine Woellert writes of the groundbreaking 'toolkit' released by the administration, and discusses the possible effects on local efforts to reform zoning codes: 

"The Obama administration Monday is calling on cities and counties to rethink their zoning laws, saying that antiquated rules on construction, housing and land use are contributing to high rents and income inequality, and dragging down the U.S. economy as a whole.

City zoning battles usually are fought block by block, and the president's involvement will create friction, particularly among environmental groups and the not-in-my-backyard crowd. But the White House jawboning is welcome news to many others, including mayors and builders increasingly foiled by community opposition to development.

The White House published a “toolkit” of economic evidence and policy fixes to help local political leaders fight back against the NIMBYs that tend to hold sway over municipal zoning meetings. “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.'"

For the full story, read more at Politico.

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