FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Calling affordable housing a first-order priority, Senator Todd Young (R, Indiana) briefed journalists in the Fort Wayne Media Collaborative about his “Yes in My Backyard” bill which would require local planners to report when they are implementing historically discriminatory land use and zoning policies.
Young said a primary driver of rising home prices is the requirement of state and local governments for new homes to have things such as large yards, brick exteriors, minimum square footage or expensive cosmetic features.
The YIMBY Act would shed light on – but not stop – planners who approve high-end housing over more affordable options.
“Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” said Young. “If we can bring transparency to zoning and land use policies then the American people have the ability to determine when discriminatory policies are inappropriate and to prevent them from happening, or to vote out local office holders if they won’t listen.”
The legislation has received bipartisan support but has been held in committee for a year. It would withhold federal money in the form of Community Development Block Grants from local governments who don’t report.
Young would be suspect of non-reporters. “I would infer as a local resident that my community probably was engaging in indefensible discriminatory land use or zoning policies.”
Compliance time and costs would be minimal, he said. Planners would simply report the reasons behind their zoning decisions. Young thought it would take less than 30 minutes.
Young said the legislation would not only bring about more affordable housing but also be good for the nation’s civic health.
“We should not be a nation of gated communities,” he implored. “We need to know one another. Our ability to be citizens in this republic is impaired if we don’t live near people who are somewhat different than we are.”
Young urged President Joe Biden, who has shown support for the idea, to push the bill through Congress.
“This has been endorsed by conservative and progressive groups alike which is all the more reason why I welcome a phone call from the president so that we can get this done.”