PHOENIX — Editor’s Note: The above video is from an earlier broadcast.
Two state lawmakers have introduced legislation that attempts to boost Arizona’s housing supply by streamlining the bureaucratic process for building homes.
House Bill 2674 creates a standardized set of statewide zoning rules that attempt to override housing regulations or restrictions adopted by local towns and cities.
“A municipality may not withhold a building permit or other approval necessary as a condition of constructing residential housing for failure to comply with any ordinance, code, standard, regulation…” HB 2674 states.
State Rep. Steve Kaiser, R-Phoenix, said Arizona’s housing supply is not keeping pace with demand due to zoning rules that exist within local municipalities.
“The single biggest barrier to increasing the housing supply are municipal regulations and restrictive zoning laws which impede growth,” Kaiser said.
HB2674 allows municipalities to adopt a residential building code but the bill restricts the ability to add changes to the code.
“A city or town may not adopt any local amendments that are more stringent or impose additional requirements than the most recent unamended model code unless the city or town determines that the local amendment is necessary to immediately prevent an imminent objective threat,” the bill states.
The new legislation has already caught the attention of municipal leaders who have questions about how the bill would change the way cities regulate housing.
During a committee meeting on Wednesday, the Phoenix City Council asked staff to review the requirements outlined in HB 2674.
State Rep. Cesar Chavez, D-Phoenix, said the bipartisan bill will try to address complex problems that have created a local housing market that’s become increasingly unaffordable.
“The pandemic has left us with consequential issues resulting in an increase in homelessness, people struggling with mental health issues, and a short supply of housing for the rapidly growing population,” Chavez said.
Rent prices in Arizona have been rising rapidly over the last couple of years. Six Valley cities were recently included in a national list of the fastest-growing cities for rental costs.