Thursday, June 29, 2017

Why Sacramento can’t kick its addiction to big yards, suburban sprawl

The Sacramento Bee reports:
The Sacramento region just can’t quit its big lawns.

As the new-home market slowly recovers from the devastating recession, it doesn’t look much different than it did before, despite a regionwide effort to change the way Sacramento grows.

Most of the homes built in the region in the past four years were constructed on large lots – 5,400 square feet or bigger. The vast majority of those homes were built in the suburbs more than 10 miles from downtown Sacramento.

That’s despite an agreement a decade ago by local governments around the region to squeeze more houses on smaller lots and to build more infill around the urban core, growth patterns that better support walking, public transit and water conservation.

The agreement, called the Blueprint, was ratified by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments during the housing boom in 2004. At the time, fast growth ate undeveloped land at a worrisome pace, creating sprawl and traffic jams. New housing construction subsequently plummeted during the bust, making the Blueprint’s goals seem less relevant.

Today the region is growing again, at a modest but substantial pace. New home construction has increased each of the last three years, with hundreds of thousands more homes in the development pipeline.
The struggles of Blue America.