Defending Proposition 13 and zoned single-family neighborhoods – Orange County Register

If you’ve spent your savings and the earnings of your life buying a house on a quiet side street in a single-family neighborhood in California, you’ve been robbed.

Your camera-compatible doorbell and security system likely did not register the evidence because the theft occurred in Sacramento. Worse, it is not against the law. It’s the law.

Single-family zoning has been abolished. People benefiting from this include developers who want to buy the land and build high density housing on small plots, the construction industry and real estate interests who will see a good payoff from new construction, and various non-profit groups. lucrative run by wet groups. senior executives earning six-figure salaries to “manage” housing projects for low-income or homeless people.

Against these vested interests stand homeowners and local government officials who fought for years against proposed laws in the state capital to force cities to accept state-imposed zoning changes.

Special interests won a battle in 2021. The legislature passed Senate Bills 9 and 10, ending single-family zoning in California, and Governor Gavin Newsom enacted them as soon as he passed the risk of be called back. The war is not over, however, as a bipartisan coalition of local leaders has tabled an initiative that would prevent these laws from having any effect and ban any similar state laws in the future.

Local leaders call their initiative “Our Neighborhood Voices,” and the Attorney General has given it a circulating title – the title that appears on official petitions – of “Provides Local Land Use and Zoning Laws” ‘prevail over conflicting state laws’. It takes nearly a million valid signatures from registered voters by mid-April to qualify for the November 2022 ballot. If passed, cities will once again be empowered to control local zoning and make decisions about where higher density housing can be built, as well as decisions about any requirements for developers to provide off-street parking or traffic mitigation measures.

Does he have a chance?

Some people clearly think so. Another initiative has been introduced which contains a poison pill to kill him.

The 21-0032A1 initiative was filed on November 10 by lawyer Stanley R. Apps. The Attorney General gave it the outstanding title of “Increases Property Tax Exemption for Homeowners and Tax Credit for Renters”. Increase taxes on high value properties. Limits local restrictions on housing development.

The Apps initiative is another attack on Proposition 13, breaking the 1% property tax rate that the 1978 initiative enshrined in the state constitution. If this new measure qualifies for the ballot and is approved by voters, properties over $ 4 million would see their tax rate rise. This would affect commercial, residential, industrial, mixed-use or vacant land. The measure also amends the law to require cities to approve certain social housing projects “ministerially without discretionary review or hearing.”

The poison pill is in section 9 of the initiative. It states that the Our Neighborhood Voices initiative is “considered to be in conflict with this law” and states that while the Apps initiative obtains a greater number of votes than the ONV measure, “the provisions of this law [the Apps measure] shall prevail in their entirety “and” all provisions of the other or other measures [Our Neighborhood Voices] will be null and void.

Now you might be wondering why more California voters would choose an initiative that both attacks Proposition 13 and cements the abolition of single-family zoning so developers can more easily build high-density housing in more neighborhoods. ?

The answer is: because they plan to pay you to vote for it.

Not literally, of course. It would be illegal to pay voters to mark the circle “Yes” on their ballots. Instead, the Apps initiative strengthens the homeowner exemption and increases the tenant tax credit.

The owner’s exemption exists in the current law. If you own the home that is your primary residence, you can fill out a form and have $ 7,000 withdrawn from the assessed value of your home. At a 1% tax rate, this will save you $ 70 per year. The Apps initiative would increase the homeowner’s exemption to $ 200,000, saving eligible homeowners $ 2,000 per year.

The measure would also increase the tenant tax credit to “up to $ 2,000 for joint filers earning up to $ 400,000.”

This will be paid by increasing the property tax rate on apartment buildings, office buildings, shopping malls, self-storage facilities, cinemas, restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and other property. valued at $ 4 million or more with a surcharge of up to 1.2%. If I do the math correctly, it will roughly double the tax bills on these properties.

Prices will soon reflect the higher costs, which will further increase the cost of living in California, already so high that the state has the highest poverty rate in the country when the cost of living is factored in.

The Apps initiative will give you a tax cut of $ 2,000 a year if you just help dismantle Proposition 13, raise prices statewide, and destroy California single-family home zoning for good.

Here is a better plan. Defeat the Apps initiative now, and next time support a new initiative to increase Landlord Exemption and Renter Credit without all the carnage and wreckage that comes with it.

Californians don’t have to do and suffer bad business with them. It is in our power to write better initiatives that solve problems without creating new ones. Let’s do this.

Write to Susan Shelley at [email protected]

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