The Planning Commission listened to hours of public comment last night and then discussed and recommended several amendments to the HOME initiative. They finally called it quits at 1 am but will meet again at 5:30 pm today to debate the remaining amendments and the initiative as a whole.
The commission voted to recommend establishing Floor to Area Ratio limits that encourage multiple units. Single units will be allowed a FAR of 40% of the lot size, while two units will get 55% and three-unit projects will get 65%.
It did not get to discussion of the proposed historic preservation bonus. That will happen tonight.
Remember, these are just recommendations. City Council will have ultimate say on any zoning ordinances, which they plan to take up in December.
The reasons people actually oppose zoning reform
When I first started covering City Hall in 2015, it was still common to hear preservationist members of Council throw around "neighborhood character" as an argument against new housing. Eventually they recognized, however, that that argument didn't vibe with prevailing progressive sensibilities, and shifted their focus to attacking the economic case for new housing. Increased supply wouldn't necessarily make housing more affordable and in fact would make it less affordable, they argued.
A number of anti-growth groups and activists have adopted this populist framing, with varying degrees of sincerity and credibility. If you scratch below the surface, however, you almost always find that what motivates them is not economic justice but the protection of certain lifestyle or cultural character.