May 17, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Column: Demise of R-1 Zoning Will Lead to New Blockbusting

By Tom Elias, Columnist

Blockbusting. A technique used to encourage people to sell their property by giving the impression that a neighborhood is changing for the worse, causing property values to decline. The property is later resold at inflated prices.

Definition 2, American Heritage Dictionary

Blockbusting has not been a major force in California life since the early 1980s, when civil rights laws took hold strongly. Those laws prevented brokers from trying to scare white homeowners into selling quickly and at a loss just because a family of another race moves into a residential neighborhood, the prime definition of blockbusting.

Now a new era of blockbusting may be upon us, thanks to the landmark housing density laws passed last year, known as SB 9 and SB 10. SB 9 does away with almost all single family, or R-1, zoning by allowing all but a few residential lots to be split down the middle, with two new apartments or condominiums and an “additional dwelling unit” (grandma-style one-room structure) on each half.

So SB 9 essentially allows six housing units on virtually all lots where there now is only one, everywhere in California. Cities and counties cannot stop this. SB 10, aiming to radically densify housing near light rail transit stops or major bus routes, allows high-rise development on any lot within half a mile of those transportation features.

Neither bill requires developers to provide new parking, new water supplies, new school buildings, new parks, traffic mitigation or any other community amenity in exchange for the right to build.

Developers merely need to get control of properties they want to remake.

This is an open invitation to blockbusting, as described in Definition 2. If it happens, it will eventually lower property values in current R-1 areas at least temporarily and raise them in places where the current occupants move.

Much of this could have been prevented if a proposed initiative to take land-use decisions away from state government and give them permanently and completely to local city and county elected officials had reached this fall’s ballot and passed.

But in late February, sponsors of that putative measure, known as “Our Neighborhood Voices,” announced they’ve given up on qualifying the measure for a vote this fall and will aim instead for 2024.

“We are not stopping, we are not slowing down, we are not ever going to give up until we have restored a neighborhood voice in community planning,” went the plaintive declaration of Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand, a sponsor of the proposed measure.

Translation: The group saw it had neither the money nor personnel to gather enough signatures in time to qualify the measure this year. This may be because sponsors failed to raise enough cash to pay the army of petition carriers needed to get the 1 million-plus signatures now required. The number will be different, likely lower, for 2024.

It all opens the door to three years of unmitigated, virtually unregulated development, and very likely a form of blockbusting much like that described in Definition 2 above.

Here’s how that blockbusting might work:

Let’s say you own a suburban three-bedroom. two-bath house. A developer offers you $1.5 million for your home, as is (such offers have lately been common). You refuse. But your next-door neighbor to the east accepts the offer and quickly moves somewhere cheaper.

Next, developers buy the homes to your west and across the street. Now you’re surrounded, knowing you face a year or more of demolition and construction dust and noise from all sides, newly crowded streets and no possible return to the lifestyle in which you invested much of your life savings.

So you accept an offer lower than what was originally proffered. Now there will be 24 housing units where previously there were four, and original property values have dropped.

But when you try to buy in a new location, you find prices there have risen because of an influx of folks just like you.

It’s classic blockbusting, even if it’s not racially based, as blockbusting traditionally was. And it may soon become ubiquitous.

Email Thomas Elias at tdelias@aol.com. His book, “The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It,” is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit www.californiafocus.net

Related Posts

Man Who Murdered His Family Members Pleads Guilty To Five Other Killings

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Escobar injured an additional seven other people as well.  By Dolores Quintana A man, Ramon Escobar, has pleaded guilty to...

The price of gasoline in Los Angeles County Has Experienced The Largest Increase Since February

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Gasoline prices in Orange County Have Also Increased By Dolores Quintana Regular self-serve gasoline in the county of Los Angeles...

Santa Monica Travel Summit Of 2022 Returns To Take On Tomorrow

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

The Event Was Held At The Jonathan Club On Santa Monica Beach By Staff Writer The 2022 Santa Monica Tourism...

City Council Extends Santa Monica’s Parklet Program: Santa Monica Beat – May 16th, 2022

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* City Council Extends Santa Monica’s Parklet Program * Santa Monica High School Students...

1221 Ocean Avenue Complex Sold For Record Price

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Sold for a record price of $330 million. By Dolores Quintana The Irvine Company has sold 1221 Ocean Avenue to...

Office Construction Is Starting To Rise In Los Angeles

May 15, 2022

May 15, 2022

Property vacancies are still affecting growth.  By Dolores Quintana In March, the Los Angeles Metropolitan area had 3.2 million square...

Santa Monica City Council Selects Doug Sloan as New City Attorney

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

At its meeting this week, the Santa Monica City Council appointed Doug Sloan to serve as Santa Monica’s next City...

Column From Santa Monica Mayor Himmelrich: We Walk the Talk

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

By Sue Himmelrich, Santa Moncia Mayor  I like the SMa.r.t. architects. I often agree with them. But in allowing Mark...

Landmark Theater Closing in Former Westside Pavillion

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

Theater will close at the end of month By Sam Catanzaro The Landmark Pico theater at the former Westside Pavillion...

Is Gelson’s Our Future? Bigger Is Not Better!

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

It’s appalling to see what’s happening in our city – projects recently built or about to be approved – in...

Community Policing at the Heart of Beat Four

May 11, 2022

May 11, 2022

The Neighborhood Resource Officer (NRO) Program thrives through community involvement and collective work. Today we hear from Officer Aaron Alpert...

Santa Monica High School Among Top-900 Schools in Country

May 10, 2022

May 10, 2022

SAMOHI ranked 829 out of over 18,000 total schools By Staff Writer Santa Monica High School is among the top...

Pico Marketplace Changing Small Businesses Access to Retail Space: Santa Monica Beat – May 10th, 2022

May 10, 2022

May 10, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Pico Marketplace Changing Small Businesses Access to Retail Space* Grunion Fish Seen...

Video: Westside E-Scooter Injury Rate High Than National Rate for Motorcycles

May 10, 2022

May 10, 2022

The Westside’s injury rate for e-scooters is higher than the national rate for motorcycles, a new study has found. Learn...

Douglas Sloan Set to be Santa Monica’s New City Attorney

May 9, 2022

May 9, 2022

Sloan would be first permanent person to hold post in two years By Dolores Quintana  The next Santa Monica City...