The Walnut Creek City Council, in a three to two vote, voted down a proposal calling for a moratorium on new residential projects in downtown commercial districts for 45 days – a move some developers had labeled as drastic and unnecessary.
Tuesday’s vote came at a time when Bay Area communities are grappling with – and preparing to vote on – similar measures within their own respective governments.
Walnut Creek’s moratorium was proposed to prevent housing projects seeking conditional use permits to build on commercially zoned land. The council on Tuesday opted to amend the City’s General Plan to better address that issue.
According to city records, approximately 700 residential units in commercial districts are either currently under construction, approved or under review.
That a moratorium was proposed in the first place, planners and some developers have said, demonstrates the frustration some local governments are experiencing as they attempt to deal with surging housing costs. So far, San Francisco, Emeryville and Walnut Creek have each addressed the merits of imposing moratoriums, largely out of concern that the pace of residential development, driven by the demand for luxury housing, is making affordable housing harder and harder for residents to realize.