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700,000 Possible Additional Homes Though California State Bills SB 9 & SB 10

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Sacremento, California – As Newsom’s recall lingers Senate Bill 10 was passed. Crafted by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). SB 10 allows localities to zone for missing middle multi-unit housing through a voluntary, expedited approach.

The bill passed 41-9 in a bipartisan vote and will now be sent back to the Senate for final approval before being sent to Governor Newsom’s desk.

SB 10 authorizes governments to upzone non-sprawl regions (areas near transit or in existing urbanized areas, lowering automobile usage and long commutes) to ten unit structures if they so desire. Cities will be able to boost density with the help of this streamlining technology. SB 10 allows localities to opt to zone up to ten units per parcel, allowing them to create much more housing in a way that makes sense in their local context.

In single-family zoning districts, it is now unlawful to build more than one unit of housing per parcel. In existing urbanized areas and near transit, this hyper-low density zoning leads to sprawl growth, which increases carbon emissions and wildfire risk.

SB 10 allows towns to voluntarily raise density up to ten units in a streamlined manner, bypassing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Cities will also be allowed to designate certain projects as by right, which means they will be granted by a ministerial decision rather than going through a protracted approval process.

California YIMBY is one of the sponsors of Senate Bill 10.

SB 9 & SB 10 Background

Currently over two-thirds of California’s residential land has now been set aside to cater to one home per lot. Such an ideology and practice has resulted in skyrocketed price increases alongside immense racial and economic tension due to obvious class segregation. The state of California is anticipating allowing a plot to contain four homes; local government approval will not serve as an impending factor making California the second state to get rid of single family-only zoning.

The practice of establishing more houses on less land will lead to the ultimate hefty escalation of home costs. SB 9, crafted by Senate President pro tem Toni Atkins, gives authority to house owners and developers to build duplexes and split a single loft two, permitting a maximum of four homes per property. Such authorization is not accepted in high fire zone areas or historic preservation districts.

According to a study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation, at least seven hundred thousand new houses could potentially arise with the bill’s passage.

Intense debates have transpired as to whether SB 9 would genuinely amount to affordable home ownership and low priced rentals. Considering that California housing is mainly a private business industry, lawyers do not possess the power to build homes or control the market resulting in no promises being made as to whether those who need affordable housing will be benefited. Elise Buik, CEO of United Way-Greater Log Angeles has stated before the Assembly housing committee that many land use policies in Southern California have been built on a foundation of racial segregation and wealth division. Buik additionally remarked that the state’s housing fall out has increased the percentage of those homeless.

The California Chamber of Commerce, the California Building Industry Association, Facebook, YIMBY, as well as the cities of Oakland and San Diego support the passage of SB 9.

The Los Angeles County Democratic Party, the AIDS HealthCare Foundation, and several homeowner associations are in opposition to the bill claiming concerns regarding crowding, noise, and traffic. Mayor of Rolling Hills, Beatriz Dieringer, does not see the bill aiding anyone besides real estate developers and investors.

Dieringer county town hosts a population of 1,513 individuals and is considered an example of exclusionary zoning due to the community holding multi-million dollar beach houses on several acres of maintained land. San Fernando City Councilwoman Cindy Montanez and resident of Leimert Park, Lynetta McElroy joined Dieringer’s efforts.

McElroy believes it is unjust for developers to destroy homes among the community considering that such demolition also affects the neighborhoods’ culture and future.

SB 9 cleared the Senate with a vote of 28 to 6. Six Democrats did not cast votes primarily due to the belief that local governments are better suited to make land-use decisions. For many assembly members, the vote remains uncertain.

California’s 2022 housing budget of $10.3 million is an insufficient amount for building affordable homes to all state residents who require them. The legislature is proposing a $6.5 billion affordable housing bond before 2022. Part of the 2021’s housing package included bill SB 10 which allows local governments to permit apartment buildings up to 10 units if located within half a mile of major transit stops.

September 10, 2021 is the deadline for legislators to approve bills. The state governor must either approve or veto them by October 10th.

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