SB50 Reintroduced in California
California Senate Bill 50, the “More Homes Act,” which would increase transit-oriented development in the Golden State, ended up in policy purgatory in the state legislature last year despite the state’s dire need to reduce barriers to new housing construction.
The bill, introduced by California State Senator Scott Wiener (District 11), also sought to allow for increased multifamily housing in single-family zoned areas. The bill was reintroduced in the early days of January after undergoing modification in an attempt to increase support of the effort, and represents the type of sustainable, thoughtful legislation that is needed in communities across the United States to address the nation’s housing affordability challenges.
The newest iteration would allow California cities two extra years to create plans that account for local conditions as long as they adhere to the state’s goals of adding more housing units while decreasing emissions, as well as prohibit local governments from locating this new product in low-income areas.
Sen. Wiener promoted the new bill at Oakland City Hall Jan. 7, saying that this version gives cities an opportunity to meet housing and transportation goals before losing authority over their own zoning regulations. Unfortunately, his and other speakers’ remarks were difficult to hear because of loud protests from housing activists who say SB50 won’t provide enough affordable housing.
Wiener indicated to the media a cautious optimism that the bill will be passed to the Senate floor for a vote, which it must do by the end of January if it is to survive.
Stay tuned to www.naahq.org for further updates.