California may be blowing up their zoning laws

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2018/01/14/california-blow-your-lousy-zoning-laws/AcT0vOJCdArOJp3cBH9zmJ/story.html

Interesting! I don’t think there’s any chance such a bill will go anywhere, but I’m surprised it was even proposed in the first place.

Btw I realize certain special interest groups locally are chomping at the bit to essentially smother CodeNEXT in its crib, but I’ll hazard a guess they haven’t considered the possibility that the Texas legislature may very well end up preempting some or most of Austin’s zoning regs if they push it too far, e.g. towards a public referendum. It’s probably stating the obvious that the lege just loves pissing off Austin folks, so CodeNEXT could readily prove to be Uber/Lyft redux. (And note there’s a reason why Houston has never instituted formal zoning controls, even if - contrary to popular belief - they don’t prohibit ALL types of zoning and permitting. You still have to get a bunch of permits to build something there, plus various parts of the city have deed restrictions preventing residents from doing _____ with their homestead.)

Point being, if you’re irrationally upset over the notion of, say, reduced parking requirements or the mild forms of upzoning proposed in the current CodeNEXT draft, think about how upset you’d be if the lege eliminates ALL parking requirements and allows limitless upzoning!

It’s actually several different bills:

It will be interesting to see which - if any pass.

As much as I think Austin needs to get on board with urban planning and density - I would be totally against the Texas legislature getting involved in such local matters. TNC’s you can make an argument should be regulated at the state level. Local zoning, on the other hand, should be controlled by the city for better or worse.

Meanwhile back home:

As much as I think Austin needs to get on board with urban planning and density - I would be totally against the Texas legislature getting involved in such local matters. TNC’s you can make an argument should be regulated at the state level. Local zoning, on the other hand, should be controlled by the city for better or worse.

Just to be clear, I completely agree. With very few exceptions, zoning has been the purview of municipalities, not the state or federal government, for over 90 years now, ever since the Supreme Court’s Euclid case that first established it as a constitutionally valid right. (Really, the only major exceptions are specific to the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 & 1966, e.g. that you can’t discriminate against homebuyers or renters on the basis of gender, race, religion or national origin.)

My point, rather, was that the current Council has taken a number of actions for which it clearly failed to anticipate the outcomes, with TNCs topping the list. I published an article a few weeks after Uber and Lyft left town explicitly stating that the lege was likely to preempt Austin’s TNC regs in its (then) upcoming session if the Council continued to refuse to budge on their stance, but they simply refused to heed well-considered foresight. They did the same thing in the months before the Prop 1 vote: they inaccurately thought Uber/Lyft were bluffing about leaving town (they weren’t, which I told them even before they passed the revised TNC ordinance that prompted the ballot referendum), and as such failed to do any preparation for an eventuality of them leaving town as promised.

Anyway, my point here is simply that certain groups have amped up their rhetoric about CodeNEXT past the point of what I’d call extreme hyperbole, and despite the state having not previously interfered in local zoning regs, the lege has stepped in when municipalities have – in their view, not mine (just to be clear - again) – initiated actions that too strongly infringe upon property owners’ rights. I’m specifically referring to the fracking ban passed in Denton that was subsequently overturned by the Railroad Commission (with the lege’s full blessing), but also pointing out that they’d likely have full legal authority to limit local zoning restrictions simply on the basis of Texas have some of the most ardent property law in the nation with respect to what a landowner can and can’t do with his property – meaning they side with what the owner wants nearly every time.

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