State must double land zoned for homes to hit Gavin Newsom’s housing goals

Governor wants to build 3.5M homes by 2026. There's only enough land for 2.8M.

Governor Gavin Newsom
Governor Gavin Newsom

Governor Gavin Newsom wants to build 3.5 million homes across California over the next seven years. But there’s one glaring problem: the state doesn’t have enough land zoned for it.

California municipalities currently have enough land zoned to create 2.8 million new units of housing, according to a UCLA study first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

UCLA said the state would have to double or triple the land zoned for housing to meet the goal. That means Newsom will have to push local governments to create more buildable land by upzoning residential parcels and rezoning non-residential parcels. He said last month he plans to withhold state tax dollars if they don’t meet housing goals.

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At his inauguration in January, Newsom touted his housing goals as part of his Marshall Plan for affordable housing, a reference to the $13 billion U.S. aid program that helped rebuild Europe following World War II.

Newsom’s plan includes $2 billion allocated in the state budget for housing and homelessness initiatives.

The new governor got some help from the state legislature and from Jerry Brown, his predecessor. In October, state lawmakers created a new law that requires local governments to zone for 100 percent of housing needs as projected by the state government. The bill built on an existing law that was rarely enforced, so it remains to be seen if it will be effective. [LAT] – Dennis Lynch