Sacramento expected to make history in California with changes in single-family zoning

Sacramento has plans to be the first city in California and one of the first in the United States to end zoning laws that only allow one single-family home on a property.

When you take a walk in your favorite local neighborhood, you may notice a variety of nice homes you can admire. From the beginning to the end of the street, beautiful homes come one after another. The neighborhood may be surrounded by nature and amazing shopping centers that are walking distance. There may also be great parks, schools and other beneficial resources easily accessible to the area. One thing you will not see, though, is an apartment building.

For years, major California cities have had a problem with redlining. The term redlining can be described as discriminatory practices in regards to allowing equal opportunity housing for minorities. This is where title VIII came into effect in 1968. In reference to information provided by the city of Sacramento, the Fair Housing Act of 1968 was put in place to outlaw government-sponsored redlining. But even with the act put in place, redlining has still been a barrier keeping minorities pushed aside. Historically, citizens who did not achieve a certain salary were forced to move into impoverished neighborhoods where the quality of life was not favorable. In areas set aside for affordable housing, the equity diminishes. 70% of Sacramento’s residential neighborhoods are zoned specifically for single-family units, according to data provided by the City of Sacramento. In these neighborhoods, duplexes are only allowed in corner lots. Overall, 43% of Sacramento land is specifically designated to single-family housing.

Sacramento is now taking steps to change that. With changes to this outdated zoning practice, affordable housing may be available in these well resourced neighborhoods. The City of Sacramento has developed an eight year strategy that will work to combat redlining. The 65 page draft includes eight goals and policies as well as implementation programs. The public review draft of this plan can be located on the City of Sacramento website.

Looking forward, the eight year strategy (2021-2029) will utilize a list of policies and programs to create equal opportunity living. California is requiring the City of Sacramento to plan and accommodate for 45,580 new housing units by 2029. This is including 17,000 units that are affordable for low-income Sacramento residents. Although this is a small step in providing more affordable housing options, it still has the potential to make history in California.

Trevon Martin // CIRB Journalism Intern