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Will California force its cities to OK more housing?

Amid a housing crisis that is displacing the poor and forcing millennials and countless others to look outside the Bay Area to live, all eyes turned this week to the tiny Peninsula town of Brisbane where a developer wants to build thousands of homes on a 684-acre swath of wasteland.

Powerful tech companies, state lawmakers and pro-growth activists from around the region implored the City Council on Monday to allow housing on land once used as a rail yard and a landfill ​— an idea many residents oppose. But after hearing passionate arguments from both sides, the City Council shelved the decision, prolonging a land-use debate that has dragged on since 2005.

“There is a paralysis when it comes to decisions about housing, and the Brisbane project is the poster child for that,” said Matt Regan of the Bay Area Council, a business-sponsored public policy group.

The standstill in Brisbane crystallizes a challenge for state lawmakers desperate to address a statewide problem that has…


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