Zoning Deregulation Benefits The Wealthy

Eugene Weekly bested Fox News with its recent cover article’s subhead: “New zoning laws offer a unique opportunity to fill Lane County neighborhoods in affordable co-ops” (2/3).

An accurate version would have been: “Extreme zoning deregulation offers investors large financial incentives to fill Eugene neighborhoods with expensive fourplexes after demolishing lower cost rental homes.”

Every wonderful outcome touted in the article would be possible with sensible code amendments to allow affordable co-op and lower-cost housing while protecting lower-income households — who rent naturally occurring affordable housing — (NOAH) from being demolished.

Unfortunately, the city staff’s proposed code amendments have no provisions to protect lower-income renters (or the climate), which will make it harder for future co-op projects because the major upzoning will double or triple the cost of land based on potential investor profits from redevelopment.

The article states: “The wealthy families win the bidding war, leading to neighborhoods filled with people who can afford to pay higher housing costs and allowing developers to charge more for new developments. The end result, Schuetz says, is lower-income people being forced out of the housing market entirely.”

This reporter misconstrued the Brookings Institute researcher’s comments. When residential land is up-zoned, large investment companies outbid prospective homeowners because the land’s value is based on redevelopment.

Cultivate Inc., and households holding out hopes for more co-ops like the C Street Co-Op, are in for rude awakenings when they see what neoliberal, market-based deregulation will bring.

Visit Housing-Facts.org for evidence-based information about the proposed zone changes.

Paul Conte