Opinion: Failed Housing Bills Could Signal California-Style Housing Crisis in Texas

Legislators in a state that so often touts its policies as the opposite of California’s defeated several bills that would have made housing construction easier, leading to concerns that a constricted housing market may exacerbate the housing crisis.

2 minute read

June 8, 2023, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Wood-frame two-story housing under construction

Alexandr Ivaschenko / Housing construction

For decades, Texas land use and zoning policy has gone in a different direction than much of California, writes Duncan Hosie in an opinion piece for The Dallas Morning News. “Its land use and zoning regulations are less stringent. And affluent homeowners and bureaucrats have less power to block housing. As a result, more housing gets built every year in Texas than anywhere else, and far fewer people are rent burdened.”

But after the failure of several zoning-related bills to pass in the state legislature, Hosie charges Texas state legislators with being “all hat, no cattle” when it comes to their staunch opposition to ‘California-style’ policies, noting that NIMBY obstructionism and the unintended consequences of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) have led to one of the nation’s worst housing crises.

The Texas bills in question would have permitted accessory dwelling units (ADUs), reduced minimum lot-size regulations, and “curbed so-called compatibility restrictions that limit the height of apartment buildings near single-family homes.” Hosie writes that “Disturbingly, many Democrats and Republicans in Texas trotted out the noxious NIMBY arguments that have reigned supreme in California to sink these proposals.”

According to Hosie, “while California offers a cautionary tale of bad housing policy, its growing YIMBY movement is charting a different course.” Texas legislators may want to look to this movement as a more effective model to “avoid the mistakes of its archrival.”

Monday, June 5, 2023 in The Dallas Morning News

Portland Bus Lane

‘Forward Together’ Bus System Redesign Rolling Out in Portland

Portland is redesigning its bus system to respond to the changing patterns of the post-pandemic world—with twin goals of increasing ridership and improving equity.

August 30, 2023 - Mass Transit

An aerial view of Milwaukee’s Third Ward.

Plan to Potentially Remove Downtown Milwaukee’s Interstate Faces Public Scrutiny

The public is weighing in on a suite of options for repairing, replacing, or removing Interstate 794 in downtown Milwaukee.

August 27, 2023 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Conceptual rendering of Rikers Island redevelopment as renewable energy facility

Can New York City Go Green Without Renewable Rikers?

New York City’s bold proposal to close the jail on Rikers Island and replace it with green infrastructure is in jeopardy. Will this compromise the city’s ambitious climate goals?

August 24, 2023 - Mark McNulty

A rendering of the Utah City master planned, mixed-use development.

700-Acre Master-Planned Community Planned in Utah

A massive development plan is taking shape for lakefront property in Vineyard, Utah—on the site of a former U.S. Steel Geneva Works facility.

August 31 - Daily Herald

A line of cars wait at the drive-thru window of a starbucks.

More Cities Ponder the End of Drive-Thrus

Drive-thru fast food restaurants might be a staple of American life, but several U.S. cities are actively considering prohibiting the development of new drive-thrus for the benefit of traffic safety, air quality, and congestion.

August 31 - The Denver Post

Air pollution is visible in the air around high-rise buildings in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Air Pollution World’s Worst Public Health Threat, Report Says

Air pollution is more likely to take years life off the lifespan of the average human than any other external factor, according to a recent report out of the University of Chicago.

August 31 - Phys.org