The California Association of Realtors were backing SB50, but it died in the State Senate today. Hat tip to SM for sending in this article – an excerpt:
California’s controversial housing bill, which would have required cities and counties to change local zoning laws to allow for new, denser housing near job centers and public transportation, died in the state Senate Thursday morning, four votes shy of the support needed to advance the legislation to the Assembly.
The measure has deeply divided stakeholders for more than a year, and lively debate on the Senate floor before an initial vote was taken on Wednesday stretched to two hours. The bill was narrowly defeated 18-15 on Wednesday afternoon, with six senators declining to vote, including Republican leader Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, who was in Washington, D.C. It was re-introduced Thursday morning in a final effort to get the bill through before the Jan. 31 deadline, but still failed.
Introduced in December 2018, the bill has failed to pass in the Senate in the past two legislative sessions despite lengthy discussion. It aimed to address California’s severe housing shortage that is driving increases in homelessness in the state, creating a financial crunch for many residents and contributing to urban sprawl that clogs freeways with commuters who live far from their workplaces, according to Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, who authored the bill. He argues that local zoning laws are undermining the state’s efforts to address the issue.
The legislation took aim at restrictive zoning and would have required counties with more than 600,000 residents to approve permits for more construction of multi-story housing and streamline the approval process for apartment buildings in neighborhoods near public transportation.
It would have required local governments to approve four-story buildings within half-mile of transit and five-story buildings within a quarter-mile. SB 50 also would give the state more power to curb local parking requirements in favor of more housing, and enable more building in high-income areas. Smaller cities, with less than 50,000 people, would have to add up to 15 extra feet of height to their permits, essentially adding an extra floor of housing, in areas within half-mile from transit.
The bill was endorsed by a diverse group of advocates, including pro-housing organization California YIMBY, the California Labor Federation, and the California Chamber of Commerce. The bill also garnered support from environmental organizations, including Natural Resources Defense Council and California PIRG, because of its potential to reduce the carbon pollution that comes from long driving commutes.
Senator Toni Atkins (who is the CA Senate President pro Tem, and represents District 39: San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar & Solana Beach) is committed to finding more solutions – this issue isn’t going away: