Senate Bill 50, which was introduced one year ago, would waive or relax local minimum parking requirements and density restrictions for developers looking to build housing near train stations and “high-quality” bus stops. But in the seven months since the bill was shelved in May, it has been amended.
Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) and advocates for a denser California are resurrecting contentious legislation designed to force cities to allow more small multi-family housing to be built near transit.
Now California cities will have to demonstrate how they plan to add more housing units in a way that decreases transportation emissions before a two-year deadline on January 1, 2023, or adhere to what’s prescribed in SB 50. (Communities deemed “sensitive,” because they have high poverty rates or have residents at risk of displacement, would receive up to five years to make their plans.)
Los Angeles, with similar programs already in place in some parts of the city, is uniquely positioned to side-step SB 50—if it ramps up existing plans to meet regional housing goals.
“These new amendments recognize that cities should have some flexibility in how they implement SB 50’s goals,” said Wiener.
The state bill has two major goals: spur the construction of more duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes, and promote alternatives to driving—the state’s largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. It has proved one of the most divisive solutions to California’s housing crisis, as it would guide cities away from reserving so much of their land for single-family homes.
To survive, the bill must be voted on by the full Senate by the end of January.
Photo – Tilden Terrace