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Climate Advocacy Toolkit - Greenbelt Alliance
Climate Advocacy Toolkit

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Sample Housing Policies

We have included a few sample policies below from the of Greenbelt Alliance’s Resilience Playbook. To learn more about the environmental case for housing and to find the full list of sample policies navigate to the of the Playbook. You can incorporate this template language into your written request or public comment.

Increase density within existing communities in non-high fire severity zones.

Why? We must build more housing in existing communities in order to create healthy, resilient, and affordable housing and protect our open spaces to provide climate benefits. Concentrating growth in places with low or even moderate wildfire hazard risk is necessary to address the need for building more homes while avoiding unnecessary pressure for sprawl. However, there are some places where wildfire risk is so significant that local governments simply should not be building new housing or job centers there.
Policy Language
Support growth in safe infill and dense locations including zoning for more housing in low-risk areas.
Make the permitting process faster while allowing for a public process and reward jurisdictions that meet housing goals.
Align public resources to support the preservation and production of affordable housing.
Consider implementing a parking policy zoning reform to eliminate or reduce the number of parking spaces a developer is required to build, instead of making it market-driven.
Invest in transit, transportation demand strategies, and electric charging stations as part of future development.
Design public spaces, planned developments, and transportation systems to advance racial and social equity by co-developing processes with low-income and communities of color. It’s important to align with the community’s needs before designing the space.

Ensure fair and inclusive zoning policies that make housing accessible to everyone.

Why? The compounding crises of climate change and housing affordability disproportionately impact low-income and communities of color. Generations of racial disparities in wealth, exacerbated by federally backed lending practices that discriminate against communities of color, have resulted in many racially divided communities. By making single-family homes the only option for a neighborhood, racial diversity and density are significantly reduced. Increasing housing supply is a powerful tool to address housing affordability, segregation, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In order to address our housing, climate, and equity crises, we need to change the stigma around multi-family home structures. Furthermore, current housing policies have resulted in people being unable to afford to live where they work, creating long unsustainable commutes—both for the environment and for our social fabric. Cities need to actively plan for diverse housing options that are accessible to people of all backgrounds and income levels using the principles of
Policy Language
Increase growth in high-resource communities that are not prone to fire risk.
Adjust zoning in wealthy communities to accommodate additional market-rate and affordable housing, not just put affordable housing in low-income neighborhoods.
Reduce or eliminate single-family zoning and other exclusionary zoning to allow for more multifamily housing that is inclusive at all income levels.
Prioritize people of low-income and communities of color in housing policies and outreach.

Require nature-based solutions for climate resilience in future developments.

Why? Natural disasters don’t discriminate. Communities all across the Bay Area are already feeling the acute impacts of climate change that lead to the devastating loss of homes, jobs, and tragically, at times, life. We need to make sure that current and future homes are resilient to climate risks like wildfire and flooding. Local jurisdictions must be better equipped to help communities struck by natural disasters rebuild and respond rapidly and inclusively. Housing should be built in a manner that protects current and future communities. Funding green infrastructure may seem like a higher investment, but the opportunity to fund it comes from new development. By encouraging developers to be ambitious and ensure that the community has an opportunity to provide input, new infill development has the opportunity to rejuvenate parts of a city that currently contribute negatively to GHG emissions, urban heat islands, and pose fire and flood risk.
Policy Language
Implement improvements to move or protect critical public assets threatened by sea-level rise or rising groundwater.
Require and incentivize green infrastructure in future developments and, when possible, use green infrastructure as a preferred alternative.
Consider permit streamlining for new housing that exceeds current green infrastructure requirements.

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