Unholy Partnership Of ‘NIMBY + Environmental Review’ Proves Toxic To Speedy Affordable Housing Development

Fort Lawton, projected site of a long delayed Seattle affordable housing project.

Developers and Local Government alike are fond of blaming each other for lengthy delays in the planning of housing projects. In the United Kingdom, a Government draft proposal is attempting to define changes that must be made to streamline the process and get desperately needed affordable housing into production. Read more in Building:  National Planning Policy Framework – Reaction. Building’s account identifies the bad guys in the room as local government councils, further putting the boots in by accusing councillors of sharing the ‘old-fashioned’ NIMBY attitudes of community activists, effectively blaming two kinds of foot-draggers for the price of one.

On the West Coast of the U.S. in Washington State and California local government finds itself as frustrated by NIMBY activists as developers are. Particularly difficult situations have arisen from the clever use by NIMBYites of powerful environmental review legislation. Reviews may be triggered for legitimate environmental concerns or because of thinly veiled social prejudice towards low income residents. However they arise, they can produce delays of affordable housing projects for years on end. Read more in: Real Change: Roadblocks To Housing: How Nimbys Use Environmental Review Processes To Stall Affordable Housing


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