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Smart Growth in Action: Housing Capacity and Development in Ventura County

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Publication Date: December 2001

Publisher(s): Reason Foundation

Author(s): Jeff Jones; Kathleen Mallory; Chris Williamson; William Fulton

Topic: Environment (Land resources and use)
Social conditions (Housing)

Type: Report

Coverage: California

Abstract:

Urban growth has emerged as a touchstone policy issue, particularly on the state and local levels, ushering in an unprecedented new wave of growth-management and growth-control legislation.

Between 1995 and 2000, Ventura County voters passed a series of growth-control measures (the Save Openspace and Agricultural Resources, or SOAR, initiative) that attempted to lock in existing land-use policies and require voter approval for conversion of agricultural, open space, or rural land to urban use.

To assess the ability and willingness of local governments to accommodate new growth, the researchers of this study reviewed housing trends, planning applications, and project approvals for all 10 cities in Ventura County. More than 120 projects, encompassing almost 12,000 approved housing units (covering more than two-thirds of the approved permits issued) were analyzed. After reviewing these projects as well as current planning policies and forecasted future demand, the authors concluded that the county is unlikely to be able to meet future housing demand, and that a crisis in housing supply will occur prior to SOAR's expiration in 2020.