HOUSING DENSITY BILL FAILS – TWICE

A measure that has made lots of headlines over the past year, that would set aside some local ordinances to clear the way for more dense housing near transit corridors, failed twice this week in two votes on the Senate Floor.

SB 50 (Weiner; D-San Francisco) attempts to help break the housing logjam in the state by overriding local zoning rules to encourage apartment construction in cities and counties.  It needed 21 votes and only was able to muster 18, in the Democrat-dominated State Senate.

In the past several years our legislature has considered hundreds of bills meant to “fix” the housing crisis.  SB 50 was one of the more promising – but also more controversial – as local government decried land use planning from Sacramento.

Although our industry liked many parts of the bill – and many others – we are disheartened that the number one issue to get more housing built in the state continues to be ignored.  CEQA reform.  It’s the “elephant in the room,” that is keeping housing costs high and supply much lower than demand, but powerful advocacy groups in the state won’t allow CEQA to be fixed, because it’s such a powerful tool to veto projects.  So, we continue to look for other, more complicated and less effective ways to resolve the housing crisis.

Our housing crisis is of such a large proportion that SB 50’s failure even received national news coverage which you can read here.

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