Time to clean out the junk

One of the popular pastimes during the pandemic has been cleaning out the junk from the garage. This has been a great opportunity to get rid of items that do not serve any purpose and also a chance to clean out any hazardous waste that damage family members or the environment.

Article 26 in the City Charter is probably top of the list of unnecessary and harmful trash that should be tossed. Let’s talk about why Article 26 is unnecessary.

It never did accomplish its stated goal of stopping Victorians from being demolished. In fact, nowhere in the language of the charter amendment does it even mention Victorians! Article 26 simply prohibited the building of anything larger than a duplex, and limited lot sizes to at least 2,00 square feet.

A whole bundle of laws has been passed since then to protect and preserve not just Victorians, but any older building, as well as the neighborhood feel and density of areas with older buildings. In other words, Article 26 doesn’t serve any useful purpose.

Worse though, Article 26 is like hazardous waste, causing potential harm to loved ones, neighbors and the environment. Article 26 limits construction to single family homes. Single-family homes have been shown to be the most environmentally damaging housing out there. They take up precious natural resource space and have to be built further and further away from urban areas due to space needs, forcing more and more households into long-distance high pollution commutes.

Article 26 also harms family members and neighbors by limiting the diversity of housing that can be built. Those quaint cottages you see in parts of Alameda? Your elder parents cannot build one to downsize to because Article 26 says those lots are too small. A fourplex similar to ones common among Victorian-era homes where young families can grow up together? Cannot be built because Article 26 doesn’t allow it.

This November, take out the useless and damaging language of our Charter, Vote yes on Measure Z to repeal Article 26.

— Doug Biggs