Statewide Upzoning Bill Back on the Table in California

News broke yesterday that the dormant SB 50, a bill proposed last year by California State Senator Scott Weiner, has new life in the new year.

2 minute read

January 7, 2020, 9:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


California State Capital

cmshepard / Shutterstock

"For the third year in a row, California lawmakers will consider a controversial housing proposal that would force neighborhoods to allow taller, denser housing near public transportation and job centers," reports Matt Levin.

In terms of chronology, Levin is referring to SB 827, the bill that died in 2018, and SB 50, a bill that almost died in 2019. SB 50, including new amendments, is moving forward again to kick off the legislative session in California.

"San Francisco Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener — whose Senate Bill 50 has twice been beaten back, in different forms, by an assortment of constituencies focused on California’s housing crisis — on Monday announced revised legislation aimed at satisfying concerns over local control, among other issues, that blocked the bill last year," explains Levin.

After the announcement, Wiener took to the Internet to post an explanation of new amendments and the ongoing effort to build political support for the bill.

Among the open questions about the bill posed by Levin is whether the changes of the bill will be enough to win the support of local control advocates.

As for what changed and what stayed the same in the plan in 2020, Levin lists these broad categories with more details included in the article:

  • Cities would be allowed to craft their own housing plans, but the state "would wield a big stick against those that don't comply."
  • Single-family zoning would still be eliminated for the vast majority of the state.
  • The support of Governor Gavin Newsom is still undetermined, though the bill will likely require the governor's support to make it through to approval.

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