Rezone 18 Parcels to Conform with Housing Plan - YES
Every 8 years, the state requires all California cities and counties to create an 8-year plan for allowing new housing to be built. The process starts with the state assigning each city a quota for how many units of housing they must prepare for. Cities are then required to create an inventory of all parcels where housing could conceivably be built, and to prepare a plan showing how they will ensure their regulations don't prevent that quota of housing units from being built, changing regulations such as zoning laws where necessary. Finally, the state must approve each plan, or the city faces the threat of lawsuits, hefty fines, and further reduced local control.
Corte Madera is in the middle of this process, which we've been working on with the public for more than a year. Tonight, we took a major step forward: we approved the changes to our zoning laws that will allow us to meet our housing quota. This process involved changing the zoning of 18 parcels across town, which are strategically located close to the highway or public transit, in order to minimize the traffic impact of any development. Many of these parcels were previously zoned for commercial or residential, and have been rezoned to mixed-use. This strategy allows housing to be built on these sites (which was already possible at many of them), but also preserves the ability for them to be developed with commercial uses as well.
There's another major benefit to this approach, besides meeting our housing quota: mixed-use developments, which contain both residences and businesses like shops and cafes, are a major boost to both quality of life and economic vitality. Residents benefit from nearby community-serving businesses that are inherently walkable, while businesses located in the same building as residences benefit from a built-in customer base; it's a win-win, and helps illustrate why single-use zoning (i.e. strictly commercial or residential) is quickly becoming obsolete.