This California bill could add thousands of new homes for LA’s low-income residents

A measure to expand a 50-year-old law aims to address the state's housing crisis

Scott Wiener (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Scott Wiener (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Scott Wiener (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Senate Bill 827 has drawn criticism from some who say its effort to increase housing statewide could come at the expense of lower-income residents. But there’s another housing bill on the table that could just as drastically alter California’s landscape, and would address those vulnerable individuals directly.

Senate Bill 828 could require cities and towns to double the amount of land available for apartments and condos with the intention of housing very low- and low-income residents.

The bill, proposed by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), would expand on a 1967 state law that requires local municipalities to zone enough land in their jurisdictions to accommodate projected population increases, according to the Los Angeles Times. Wiener also is the author of SB 827, which will head to its first committee hearing next week.

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Because few if any municipalities have ever met the goals under the state’s 50-year-old housing law, SB 828 would require them to make up for the homes required but never built under the law in the previous eight years.

The changes to the housing law and Wiener’s SB 827 proposal are meant to address California’s housing shortage. The state is ranked 49th in housing units per capita and is one of the most expensive states in the country to buy a home, thanks to high demand and low supply.

SB 827 would essentially override local zoning laws to require multi-family development near transit across the state. Wiener says it will not only help solve the housing crisis, but also help California become greener. It could spur the development of tens of thousands of new units across the city of Los Angeles alone.

Opponents say it may drive out residents in existing, lower-income dwellings. Wiener announced earlier this week changes to the bill that would address those concerns. Instead of a minimum height of eight stories within a quarter mile of a transit hub, the minimum height will now be five stories. The minimum height within a half mile of transit was cut down from five to four as well.

Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke out against an earlier iteration of the bill in March.  [LAT] — Dennis Lynch