Controversial Arizona legislation to address the housing shortage and not-in-my-backyard-ism by overriding most city zoning requirements has been tabled by one of its backers.
House Bill 2674, which also would fund the state’s housing trust fund with $89 million, has been put on hold “indefinitely” so backers can talk to more groups affected by it, according to Rep. César Chávez, D-Phoenix.
He introduced the bipartisan bill with Steve Kaiser, R-Phoenix, last week.
The legislation would create a “by-right” zoning process for apartment and single-family home developments that makes all agricultural, commercial and residential land open for new housing. It has spurred backlash from cities because it would override their zoning processes.
“I want to validate the concerns we have heard from many people across the state. This bill will go back into the stakeholder process where we want to ensure that all entities are at the table,” said Chávez in a statement. “It’s vital that we continue this conversation and focus on working together to address the underlying matter, which is tackling a growing affordable housing crisis.”
The legislation was scheduled to be heard by the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday but was pulled first.
“This bill would represent the most aggressive and restrictive zoning preemptions in the country should it pass,” said René Guillen, deputy director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. “We are very concerned about legislation that removes decision-making from local elected leaders and their ability to ensure that development fits the needs of the community and surrounding residents.”
The 24-page bill would allow for higher-density housing than most metro Phoenix cities are currently approving. It would also require faster decisions on zoning changes.
“It’s crystal clear that the Valley and the state have a massive shortfall of available houses and apartments, said Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus, CEO of the Arizona Multihousing Association, which is backing the legislation.
“This bill doesn’t simply highlight the crisis — it would allow the free market to solve the housing shortfall while giving property owners the freedom to control their private property and get out from under false NIMBY attacks and massive overregulation,” she said.
The Home Builders Association of Central Arizona also supports the bill.The additional money for the Arizona Housing Trust Fund would come from the state’s general fund and could go toward creating more homeless shelters.
Reach the reporter at Catherine.Reagor@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-8040. Follow her on Twitter @Catherinereagor.
SOURCE: Arizona Republic