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“Transit-Rich” Housing Bill Dies in Committee

In our blog post of just one month ago — New California Bill Promotes “Transit-Rich” Housing Development — we provided an update on California Senate Bill 827, legislation that aimed to promote the development of “transit-rich” housing and to override local zoning regulations incompatible with that goal.

SB 827 was lauded by the YIMBY movement (Yes In My Backyard — the counter to NIMBYs) and others aiming to provide at least some supply boost to meet California’s ravenous housing demand that has been spurred by high quality job growth.  SB 827, for example, would have allowed the construction of apartment buildings up to five stories tall near every high-frequency mass transit stop in the state.

But last week, SB 827 died unexpectedly in its first committee hearing.

Here are links to a few articles providing coverage:

  • YIMBYs Defeated as California’s Transit Density Bill Stalls — This article focuses on the debate between YIMBYs (a typically younger demographic desperate for housing options and frustrated by local zoning restrictions that suffocate housing supply, along with local CEOs hoping to see their employees find local housing) vs. NIMBYs (an established group that already owns homes and are concerned with the increased traffic and parking woes that come along with development).
  • Major California housing bill dies in first committee hearing — This article highlights the opposition that SB 827 encountered from some rural areas that did not want a “one-size-fits-all” land use approach, and from proponents of affordable housing and tenant rights, who argued that the bill did not provide enough protections.
  • There’s no good alternative to building more homes in expensive cities — This article contains interesting analysis of wage differences between California and other parts of the nation, and the striking economic and productivity benefits of denser housing.

The main proponent of SB 827, Senator Scott Wiener, has vowed to resurrect the bill for the 2019 legislative session.  We’ll keep you posted.