Friday, April 30, 2021

THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD? Biden's Racial Equity Agenda Targets 'exclusionary' Single-Family Neighborhoods; Biden’s Infrastructure Bill Aims to End Single-Family Zoning

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Biden's racial equity agenda targets 'exclusionary' single-family neighborhoods:
President Biden wants to transform the character of many American cities and suburbs by building more apartment buildings in quiet and frequently disproportionately White neighborhoods of single-family homes.
The Biden administration sees remnants of America’s segregationist past in what it calls “exclusionary” zoning laws, which allow only single-family homes in large swaths of cities and suburbs.
As part of a racial equity agenda the president is pursuing in his massive infrastructure plan, Mr. Biden would send federal grants to cities if they eliminate those zoning laws and allow more lower-income people, often minorities, in areas that typically have better schools and fewer social ills that plague poor, inner-city communities.
Zoning laws that allow only single-family houses “keep families from moving to neighborhoods with more opportunities for them and their kids,” the administration said in a fact sheet describing its $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.
The administration also is arguing that increasing the supply of housing by encouraging more apartment buildings would bring down the cost of rent.
The idea has been proposed before, at since at least the Obama administration, and always runs into stiff opposition.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed in August, President Trump and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson derided the idea of federal government discouragement of single-family zoning. They called it a policy of “coercion, domination and control.”
Mr. Trump and Mr. Carson accused Democrats of plotting to destroy the suburbs. --->READ MORE HERE
Tom Brenner/Reuters
Biden’s Infrastructure Bill Aims to End Single-Family Zoning:
With the introduction of his massive, $2.3 trillion “infrastructure” bill, President Biden’s campaign to end suburban single-family zoning has begun. If you think this issue was debated and resolved during the 2020 presidential campaign, you are mistaken. It’s true that Biden’s campaign platform openly and unmistakably pledged to abolish single-family zoning. As soon as President Trump made an issue of that pledge, however, Biden went virtually silent on the issue and the Democrat-supporting press falsely denied that Biden had any designs on single-family zoning at all. Now that he’s president, Biden’s infrastructure bill openly includes programs designed to “eliminate” single-family zoning (which Biden calls “exclusionary zoning”)
How, exactly, does Biden plan to end single-family zoning? According to the fact sheet released by the White House, “Biden is calling on Congress to enact an innovative new competitive grant program that awards flexible and attractive funding to jurisdictions that take concrete steps to eliminate [‘exclusionary zoning’].” In other words, Biden wants to use a big pot of federal grant money as bait. If a county or municipality agrees to weaken or eliminate its single-family zoning, it gets the federal bucks.
The wildly overreaching Obama-Biden era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation — which Biden has pledged to revive — works in a similar fashion. The difference is that by adding another gigantic pot of federal money to the Community Development Block Grants that are the lure of AFFH, Biden makes it that much harder for suburbs to resist applying — and that much more punishing to jurisdictions that forgo a share of the federal taxes they’ve already paid so as to protect their right to self-rule.
Are federal carrots enough, however? Prosperous suburbs may forgo the grants in an effort to secure their independence. The success of Biden’s initiative depends in part on exactly how much money gets allocated to grants tied to zoning reform. The details of that ask haven’t yet been released, but the $213 billion allocated to Biden’s total affordable housing initiative leave room for an awfully big pot for the anti-zoning portion. --->READ MORE HERE

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