President Joe Biden’s $2.3 infrastructure bill contains incentives for cities to rezone areas that are currently exclusively established for single-dwelling homes so that they can accommodate multi-dwelling low-income apartments, a move critics say will destroy suburban life.
The incentives are necessary, the administration argues, in order to make more affordable housing available while at the same time combatting racial injustices that allegedly exist within housing markets, the Washingon Examiner reported.
The White House further argues that current zoning laws known as “exclusionary zoning,” which restricts housing areas to single-family dwellings, are hurting low-income people who otherwise cannot afford to move to suburban areas. As such, they are forced to live in crowded urban apartments, many of them federally subsidized.
“Biden’s proposal would incentivize local governments to get rid of exclusionary zoning by awarding grants and tax credits to cities that change their zoning regulations,” the outlet reports.
Critics have said that such a plan would forever alter the serenity and quiet nature of suburbs, which sprang up decades ago as more Americans sought refuge from noisy, dirty, crime-ridden urban areas.
“The Biden plan’s backers are hypocrites,” former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey wrote in a New York Post column last month. “Biden himself owns a four-acre lakefront home in upscale Greenville, Delaware, where there is absolutely no public housing, affordable housing, or rentals that accept housing vouchers. And don’t expect any to be built next door to the Bidens.”
She went on to rip Biden over his longstanding “passion for stately homes and swanky addresses, even buying a 10,000-square-foot mansion that once belonged to the DuPont family, of 19th-century gunpowder wealth.
Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas) also ripped the zoning incentive.
“I live in Irving, Texas, or as the leftists in Biden’s administration would call it, sprawl,” she told the Examiner. “If you live in a home that dares to have a yard, trees, space between you and a neighbor, and you work hard to pay a mortgage, you are likely a target.”
She added that she believes the real intent behind the initiative is to destroy suburban life and is “nothing more than a smokescreen to eliminate single-family zoning and break the burbs.”
“Biden’s desire to eliminate single-family zoning is for one reason, to destroy our suburban neighborhoods as we know them,” she added. “Democrats are using this Trojan horse of an infrastructure bill to ‘reimagine’ our communities and erase single-family homeownership and locally run schools.”
Former President Donald Trump made a similar case when he moved to protect the suburbs from exactly the kinds of initiatives contained in Biden’s plan.
“At the request of many great Americans who live in the Suburbs, and others, I am studying the AFFH housing regulation that is having a devastating impact on these once thriving Suburban areas,” he tweeted in July ahead of the November elections.
He also called out Biden.
“Corrupt Joe Biden wants to make them MUCH WORSE. Not fair to homeowners, I may END!” Trump added.
Trump’s effort was in response to an Obama-era program begun by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which the Biden initiative mirrors. At the time, HUD Secretary Julián Castro, Education Secretary John King and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx sent letters to urban leaders informing them that HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule was being expanded to the other two agencies in order to achieve ‘racial equity’ in housing.
The rule empowered the federal government to essentially dictate local zoning laws, which would have included expanding multi-occupant dwellings into single-dwelling neighborhoods.
Trump eventually ended the rule later that same month, writing on Twitter, “Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down.”
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