Local land use regulation, especially in big cities, is far too time consuming, expensive and restrictive and therefor results in insufficient supply of housing of all types, including affordable housing, and unhealthy land use patterns that separate residential and commercial uses and impose excessive minimum parking requirements, making residents more car dependent.  

These regulations primarily benefit politically connected developers who can get through the development process and older, more affluent residents used to a car-centric lifestyle, at the expense of young families and poorer workers, since they artificially reduce the supply of housing and increase the rent and startup costs for local businesses.  

These regulations are environmentally harmful, as (1) they make our cities less dense and support more energy intensive single family housing patterns over apartments, (2) they result in conversion of farms and natural areas in surrounding rural areas into suburbs, and (3) they result in longer commutes and more traffic.  

In my hometown of Oakland, I've been helping out on a locally owned community grocery store project in West Oakland, which is in a poor neighborhood badly in need of local, healthy groceries.  The store has strong local support and ostensible support from the mayor, yet very simple planning approvals requiring minimal review and processing time from the city have taken almost a year and counting to get.  

In my own neighborhood in Oakland, local NIMBIES (usually affluent and white) regularly oppose apartment and condo projects that would provide more affordable housing for young families.   Unless my kids are hedge fund managers, venture capitalists, or thieves, they won't be able to afford to live here.

 

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