The Sacramento City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday in favor of a draft plan to change the city’s exclusive zoning for single-unit households. Starting December of 2022, the city will allow the construction of single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes in areas that are currently zoned for single-unit homes only. The City Council voted 8-0 in approval, taking inspiration from the cities of Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon.
According to a poll of 504 residents of Sacramento in August of 2020, the idea of altering the zoning code to increase density received 68% approval, with the majority polled voicing strong approval. Public comments on the January 19th meeting also reflected the positive sentiment.
The council has also voted to eliminate parking minimums. When polled, the idea received mixed results. 39% approved, 42% disapproved, and 19% were unsure.
The council’s decision comes as part of the strategy to achieve the city’s 2040 General Plan goals, a plan which they are scheduled to adopt at the end of this year. The city government published the guiding principles for the 2040 General Plan in December of 2018, declaring their ambition to ensure that in two decades, “The City of Sacramento community, including its distinct neighborhoods, enjoys a diversified, inclusive economy and a city that is clean, safe, healthy, and vibrant, with beautiful natural spaces, recreational activities for all ages, cultural events, and ease of mobility. These ends are achieved efficiently and to the greatest possible extent given available resources.”
The goals include the maintenance of safety, increasing public transit use, reducing resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and achieving greater urban density. At present, 70% of the city’s neighborhoods are zoned exclusively for single-units, representing 43% of the total land area.
The council vote makes Sacramento the first city in the state of California to approve the up-zoning of single-family housing. This move comes at a time when the city is experiencing rapid and sustained growth. Realtor.com has projected that Sacramento will have the strongest home prices and sales of any city in the nation, with San Jose in second place. The city’s move to allow greater density will ensure that the growth is economically and socially sustainable.
An example of the moderate scale of construction planned is with 18060 Broadway project, a development of three duplex units in the city’s neighborhood of Tahoe Park. SFYIMBY covered the project in late October of 2020.