Is CA Forcing Out Single Family Homes?

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 09, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Are California's planning laws "waging war" on single family homes? Zoning laws in the Golden State might be making it more difficult for homeowners to buy detached single-family housing in the future.

About 70% of Californians prefer single family housing, according to a survey by the Public Policy Institute of California.

But, new policies that push for "urban containment" or "smart growth" instead advocate for creation of more dense housing, such as apartments or condominiums, reports New Geography. What does this mean for consumers and buyers of single family homes?

It could mean that in the future, it will be more difficult to find a detached, single family house in California. In the San Francisco Bay area, planners have proposed that 97% of new housing be built where urban footprint already exists, according to New Geography.

Many municipalities pass ordinances to restrict how houses are built. These zoning regulations can dictate what kind of buildings can be built, if they can be commercial or residential, and what kind of property can be built.

Some zoning regulations go more into detail about what can be developed, such as how tall the buildings can be and what type of property can be developed. Planners usually help develop how a city will grow in the future, creating a master plan, or comprehensive plan, that is later implemented through city ordinances and regulations.

California's planning laws may soon wage war on single family homes, or at the least, limit their availability.

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