Updated: Statewide Upzoning Falls Short Again in California

For the third year in a row, an effort to increase density near transit in statewide in California has stalled in the legislature.

January 30, 2020, 8:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


NIMBY Sign

Richard Masoner / Flickr

"California lawmakers failed to pass high-profile legislation on Wednesday to dramatically increase homebuilding in the state," reports Liam Dillon. The vote is the latest defeat in Senator Scott Wiener's crusade to implement a statewide upzoning of properties located near transit routes.

"Senate Bill 50, which would allow construction of mid-rise apartment complexes near transit and job centers and fourplexes in most single-family neighborhoods throughout California, was opposed by state senators who said the measure took too much power away from local governments and failed to sufficiently address low-income housing needs," explains Dillon.

As noted in a separate article by Chris Nichols, the bill has one more chance to achieve the necessary number of votes on Thursday, January 30. [Update: A final vote on Thursday, January 30, finally ends the chances of SB 50's approval. A tweet by John MeyersSacramento bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times, confirms the final vote.] The Senate vote on Wednesday actually favored the bill, 18–15, falling three votes short of the necessary 21.

SB 50 had new life at the beginning of 2020 after falling short in 2019. The previous iteration of the bill, SB 827, failed in committee in 2018. Dillon's article includes a complete history of Senator Scott Wiener's attempts to pass the two bills.

Dillon also provides analysis of the politics of the defeat, noting that nine Los Angeles-area senators either voted no or abstained from the vote.

2020 is already failing to live up to the hopes of pro-development forces around the country—two bills that would have dramatically increased the zoned capacity of residential properties in Virginia failed to make it out of a House of Delegates subcommittee last week.

Additional coverage of the SB 50 vote is available from the Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 in Los Angeles Times

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