We believe that Sacramento has always been, and should continue to be, an innovative and forward-looking city of immigrants from around the U.S. and the world. Our vision is an inclusive region welcoming all new and potential residents. No community should be out of reach for an individual or family due to financial constraints.
We strongly support building new housing. We have a severe housing shortage. Increasing supply will lower prices across the spectrum.
We should build more housing in every neighborhood — especially high-income neighborhoods, walkable areas, and near high-quality transit.
The people most hurt by a housing shortage are those with the least means.
II. BUILD MORE HOUSING
We are urbanists who believe in the virtues of cities. Building housing within our existing urban footprint is our moral, economic, and environmental responsibility.
Infill is sustainable: it reduces urban sprawl, reduces water usage, uses energy more efficiently, and creates a smaller carbon footprint. It is essential as a means of reducing VMT and meeting GHG reduction targets.
Infill is accessibility: it encourages walking and biking, makes transit more efficient, reduces social isolation, and increases residents’ access to diverse cultures and to each other.
Infill is opportunity: it increases access to jobs, supports diverse businesses, promotes innovation, and enables people to be more productive.
Infill decreases displacement. When jobs are added without housing, those with the least protections and economic mobility are displaced by higher income residents.
Sacramento is a particularly efficient place to build infill housing because of its vacant and underutilized land.
Not everyone wants to (or has to) live in a dense city. However, current policies restrict the supply of urban housing below what is requested, leaving suburban life as the only affordable option for many.
We prefer to support developers and projects that are financed and built by local residents. We want to empower community members to invest in their neighborhoods, not rely on outside money to shape our cities for us.
III. AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR ALL
It is not local government’s role to maximize wealth for a subset of residents who own real property. It is the responsibility of local government to ensure that housing is affordable and accessible to all residents.
Affordability and high home values are incompatible goals - therefore public policy should be based on viewing homes as places to live, not as financial investments.
The vast majority of homes that are actually “affordable” to lower-income people are sold or rented at market rate. They just happen to have some characteristics—size, appearance, amenities, or location —that make their market prices relatively low.
IV. HOUSING IS A HOME
Sacramento has the physical space for more housing without displacing existing residents.
We support all types of housing - both market rate and below market rate (BMR). We need more of everything. We need to be cautious that our exactions on developers do not prevent or discourage new housing.
Higher priced housing helps protect lower income residents. In a growing economy, higher income newcomers compete for older housing stock and outbid lower-income residents. Adding supply at all levels helps protect existing non-wealthy residents from being priced out of their homes.
Effective ways to protect and preserve existing affordable housing units include community land trusts, resident owned and controlled cooperatives, the Small Sites Acquisition Program, Real Ownership Opportunities for Tenants Program (ROOTS), maintaining strong tenant protections, promoting homeownership, improving access to credit in minority communities, opposing abusive withholding of housing benefits, expanding federal funding for subsidized housing, providing lawyers for at-risk tenants and homeowners, and building more housing.
V. STOP DISPLACEMENT
We believe in long-term planning. Once a citywide or neighborhood plan is made, the process for building should be streamlined, well-defined and predictable. Planning and approval should not impose significant delays on or add significant costs to a project, nor should individual property owners or neighborhood associations have the power to prevent projects on the basis of narrow self-interest. Here are some ideas we support:
Invest in permanently affordable housing.
As-of-Right building: development plans approved at the departmental level if the project is within existing zoning.
Mandate or incentivize cities to follow regional master plans and statewide housing policies or mandates, such as the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA).
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reform. CEQA should be used to protect the environment from destructive uses, not stop the beneficial development of infill projects.
Form-based codes. Get rid of height limits, setbacks, and other overly prescriptive frameworks that prevent creativity in development.
Mixed-use zoning and transit orientated development.
Complete streets and quality public spaces, not parking spaces.
Prop 13 reform.
Upzoning wealthy, exclusive single family neighborhoods.
Strengthen our regional agencies.
Protecting our most important historic resources while allowing for growth and change.
Affordability by design and secondary units.
VI. ZONING & PLANNING POLICY PRESCRIPTIONS
The housing shortage is not an unintended policy failure. California has a housing shortage because of decades of voting and organizing against housing. The solution is to organize for housing.
We must organize our communities, make our case in the media, write to legislators, support projects at hearings, sue to enforce housing law, support pro-housing candidates, and vote for more housing. Join us.