A bill designed to substantially eliminate discriminatory land use policies pertaining to housing construction projects has won the approval of the House Financial Services Committee.
Called the Yes In My Backyard Act, the legislation will also require recipients of federal Community Development Block Grants to report on any land use policies in their communities serving to inhibit new housing construction.
In an article written for the publication The Hill, David Schwartz, chairman of the National Multifamily Housing Council, said there is “no silver bullet to the housing affordability crisis, but productive and practical bills like this, when used to complement more localized efforts, can have a significant and positive impact.”
The bill, whose acronym YIMBY is a rhetorical response to the opposition seen in many communities to proposed housing projects known as Not In My Backyard, or the NIMBY movement, particularly addresses itself to local regulations that often stifle the development of such projects.
A statement issued by the Financial Services Committee argues: “As these regulations have increased, the result is fewer homes built and untenable housing costs.”
Sponsored by Representative Denny Heck of Washington and Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana, the YIMBY legislation has won the support of such groups as the American Planning Association and the National Association of Realtors.
Housing industry experts have maintained that there is currently a 7 million gap between the number of new housing units needed in the country and the number of such units actually being built.
They additionally note that a plethora of new local land use policies and zoning regulations, often enacted in response to the opposition expressed by the neighbors of any proposed project, have increased in recent years.
The YIMBY legislation contains no enforcement mechanisms regarding how such decisions are made, but instead will require local governments to detail their rationale for deciding on zoning and land use policies impacting new housing development.
By Garry Boulard
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