New California Bill Promotes “Transit-Rich” Housing Development
California Senate Bill 827, introduced by Senator Scott Wiener, continues to draw attention as the State struggles to address an under-supply of housing that has not kept up with demand driven by strong job growth.
SB 827 would require local governments to approve proposed housing developments within a certain radius of major transportation stops (such as BART), as long as the proposed development complies with certain planning standards relating to demolition permits, local inclusionary housing ordinances, and relocation assistance requirements.
The bill would also exempt those developments from various local zoning requirements such as density, parking, and height limitations.
Proponents of the bill urge that this type of “smart growth” (higher density near mass transit) is the only way California can meet the enormous pent up demand for housing without encouraging further sprawl.
Opponents fear the loss of local zoning control to Sacramento, and taller/larger buildings being erected in quiet, lower-density neighborhoods.
Below are a few links for learning more about SB 827:
- Text of SB 827, showing recent amendments
- Senator Wiener’s explanation of the recent amendments to the bill
- “In California, Momentum Builds for Radical Action on Housing” — a detailed article looking at SB 827 in the context of California’s housing crisis and the developing YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) movement
- “How Might SB 827 Impact California? We Took a Deep Dive Into the Data” — an interesting, data-driven examination of how SB 827 might impact the neighborhoods around several East Bay BART stations: MacArthur, Rockridge, and Orinda
- “A Bid To Solve California’s Housing Crisis Could Redraw How Cities Grow” — an article from Wired taking a deep dive into the policy issues behind SB 827
- “California gears up for a battle over single-family zoning near transit” — additional analysis of the forces lining up for and against SB 827
- “Sierra Club Policy on Transit-Oriented Development” — press release from the Sierra Club supporting transit-oriented development in general, but noting concerns with SB 827
We will keep you posted on developments relating to SB 827.