Friday, May 11, 2007
At what level of government should urban growth boundaries be created? In Ventura County, Cal., west of Los Angeles, the decisions are made largely on a city to city basis. While this enables localities to plot their own fate, it also raises the classic drawbacks of land use law at a local level: Cities are encouraged to “push” unwanted growth to their neighbors and, sometimes, cities may be encouraged to “pull” especially wanted developments away from others.
Many dynamics may have been at play in the recent vote of residents to increase the urban growth boundary of Santa Paula, which voted this week to open up housing construction in Adams Canyon. The city had voted against similar proposals in recent years. The planned new development would bring in about 500 new homes, mostly in the “upscale” category, to a city that currently has few affluent residents. Would the vote have gone the same way had the plan been to open up the boundary for higher-density and more affordable housing?