There have been a few letters recently touting HB2001 as the solution for providing “missing middle” housing and improving diversity.
While I believe these supporters of HB2001 are sincere, I also believe they are naive. Eliminating single-family zoning is not a magic bean that will solve these problems. In fact, this “one-size-fits-all” approach will cause real harm to many neighborhoods in our community.
A simple example is the university neighborhoods. No developer is going to replace single-family homes in the university neighborhoods and replace them with affordable housing to help the “missing middle” and minorities. What they will do is tear down single-family homes and replace them with multi-unit developments so that they can cram in more students.
So, instead of a family next door (white, black, whatever) you will have a fourplex with 20 students and their cars. Oh, wait, HB2001 allows development with no onsite parking. The cars will all be parked on the street.
The result will be the ruin of the university neighborhoods.
And which neighborhoods will not be impacted? Well, the wealthiest ones that have restrictive deeds that circumvent HB2001. Duh.
Creating more affordable and diverse housing is an admirable goal, and we should strive the achieve it. But this “one-size-fits-all” approach is misguided. Our housing issues are complex, and a simplistic solution, while appealing, won’t accomplish the goals.