SB 50 would make 40% of LA’s developable land available for higher density

Local leaders already strongly oppose the state bill to boost housing

Apr.April 24, 2019 11:00 AM
California State Senator Scott Wiener

Los Angeles city officials say a proposed state-level law to boost housing construction would have “potentially far-reaching effects” in the city.

A Department of City Planning [DCP] report published Tuesday found that Senate Bill 50 would most significantly impact single-family neighborhoods within a half mile of an L.A. Metro station, roughly six percent of single-family parcels citywide, according to the L.A. Times. About 40 percent of the city’s developable land could get higher density projects if the new law is passed, the report found.

At the core of the bill is a provision that allows four- and five-story multifamily developments within walking distance of transit. It’s an effort to both encourage much-needed housing and to steer residents toward transit, hopefully reducing dependency on cars.

As it’s now written, the bill would also require some communities to allow dense housing near job centers, which could impact wealthier neighborhoods. For example, around two-thirds of developable land in areas including Bel Air and Sherman Oaks could be eligible for more dense development, according to the DCP report.

Tech-heavy areas could see quadruple the housing production under the bill.

The DCP’s report is ammunition for the L.A. City Council, which formalized its opposition to SB 50 with a unanimous vote last week.

SB 50 is the brainchild of San Francisco-area State Senator Scott Wiener. It’s a scaled back version of SB 827, a bill he proposed in 2017 that the city also strongly opposed. SB 827 was rejected in its first hearing at the State Capitol, forcing Wiener to further tweak it to give local governments more control over development. Many local governments statewide, however, oppose SB 50, arguing that it also saps their decision-making power. [LAT]Dennis Lynch 

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