By Daniel Stefanski |
Arizona continues to search for a housing solution for individuals already in-state – or yet to come to the state, and one state senator is working on legislation that could fix the issues towns and cities currently find themselves working through on this front.
On Tuesday, Senator Steve Kaiser issued a press release, announcing his efforts on “a series of bills aimed at increasing the Arizona housing supply by using free market principles to provide real tangible relief for young families and senior citizens struggling with soaring prices.”
Those bills (HB 2536, SB 1161, and SB 1163) would, according to Kaiser’s release, “cut the bureaucratic red tape that’s responsible for creating barriers and slowing home construction. More specifically, these bills would limit government control and speed up home-building timelines for cities and towns, while protecting public input and local zoning regulations. These bills would also provide the market with the necessary tools to create more single room occupancy housing for seniors, where tenants have a furnished bedroom with a shared kitchen and bathroom, as well as accessory dwelling units, like ‘mother-in-law suites’ or ‘casitas.’” The release stated that “these are easy solutions for those living on fixed incomes and struggling to keep a roof over their heads.”
In a statement for his release, Senator Kaiser explained his motivation in fighting for these proposals: “I’m determined to provide immediate relief for those struggling to make their rent payments or pursue the American dream of home ownership within the state of Arizona. After months of meetings and collaboration with stakeholders, developers, residents, local planning and zoning representatives, as well as my colleagues in the Legislature, I’m convinced the solutions to our housing crisis lie in deregulation without gimmicks or subsidies. We have an issue of supply and demand, and my proposals lean heavily on free market principles that will help increase inventory and drop prices.”
HB 2536, sponsored by House Speaker Ben Toma, would establish “residential zoning district regulations and limitations of residential housing design standards;” and it would modify “current municipal zoning and licensing time frame requirements.” It currently resides in the Arizona Senate.
SB 1161, sponsored by Senator Kaiser, would require “municipalities to allow by right the construction of low-income multifamily residential rental property;” and it would establish “municipal reporting requirements relating to housing needs.” It currently sits in the Arizona House.
SB 1163, also sponsored by Kaiser, would “create an at-risk permit relating to grading and earthmoving of property, provide zoning regulations relating to single-family residential uses, and establish municipal reporting requirements relating to housing needs.” It, too, waits in the Arizona House for future consideration.
Kaiser’s release conceded that these bills “will likely be amended further before final votes on the floor in the coming weeks.”
Some Democrats in the Legislature appear to be supporting of these proposals. Representative Analise Ortiz tweeted, “AZ Dems have an opportunity to walk our talk on housing policy by supporting SB 1161, SB 1163, & HB 2563. Let’s rollback decades of exclusionary zoning policies that segregate our communities, keep rents high, and benefit the wealthiest landowners most.”
Senator Anna Hernandez also chimed in in support of these bills, writing, “Zoning reform is being addressed across the country and political spectrum. Rolling back exclusionary zoning is critical in achieving housing affordability. AZ has a chance to lead the way with SB 1161, SB 1163, HB 2536, and deliver solutions to our housing crisis.”
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.