By Matt Levin | CalMatters

Please subscribe to the Gimme Shelter podcast on Apple PodcastsStitcherSoundcloud, Google Play, Spotify or Overcast

Cities and homeowner groups — often reluctant to allow the building of denser housing in their backyards — are frequently blamed for California’s soaring housing costs.

But advocates for local control argue that state housing interventions, including many supported by Gov. Gavin Newsom, risk eroding the character of their neighborhoods. And they say that state efforts to prod more development ignore the strains on infrastructure and local budgets that will inevitably accompany new development.

“There are yards and fences and gateways and flowers and trees that are showing a kind of love and appreciation for the intermingling between nature and beautiful construction and caring and neighborliness,” said Susan Kirsch, a slow-growth activist from Marin County, as she described her hometown of Mill Valley.

“This is in contrast to the big-box apartments going up in so many places really without any sense of aesthetics or beauty or inviting quality.”

On this episode of Gimme Shelter, the California Housing Crisis Podcast, Matt Levin of CalMatters and Liam Dillon of the Los Angeles Times discuss the case for local control over housing decisions with Kirsch and Juan Garza, mayor pro tem of the Southern California city of Bellflower.

CalMatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.

The author wrote this for CALmatters, a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s Capitol works and why it matters