Center for Sustainable Neighborhoods​

improving neighborhoods

for people planet and profit!

Public Policy

The policy levers that shape our neighborhoods are myriad. Local planning and zoning are important, but are just the start. Local, regional, state and federal infrastructure, investment and tax policy also profoundly shape how our neighborhoods and regions grow.

We sometimes take action on  federal matters, but currently focus our policy making mostly in California.

 A recent victory we are proud of having authored is getting the state to accord affordable housing projects throughout the state favorable treatment under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in revisions to the CEQA guidelines developed to implement SB 226. We also played a significant role in securing a carve out to fund  rural affordable housing and transit systems within the California's cap and trade system. 

 Here are some of our current priorities.


More zoning for mixed use and land efficient development.

Reduced barriers to accessory dwelling units (granny units) in single family neighborhoods. 

Progressive parking policies that address parking needs more efficiently and reduce the environmental and economic cost of excessive requirements for off street parking.

Strong design guidelines to ensure that new infill development is attractive,  green and inclusive. 

Economic development strategies that encourage use of high-road labor practices that produce better quality jobs..


Increased investment in pedestrian, bicycle and transit infrastructure.

New incentive programs using discretionary transportation and park funding  to reward jurisdictions that build affordable and mixed income infill housing.

STATE: (California)

Permanent source of funding for affordable housing.

Improved permitting processes for sustainable development

Improved Title 24 energy efficiency standards to promote neighborhood level energy savings. 


Defend investment in affordable housing.

Support sanctuary cities.