Upzone LA: State bill to boost housing could transform single-family home areas

Amid California's housing shortage, more than half the developable land is zoned single-family housing
May 14, 2019 08:00AM

California State Senator Scott Wiener (Credit: Scott Wiener and iStock)

California State Senator Scott Wiener (Credit: Scott Wiener and iStock)

A state Senate bill to boost California’s housing stock could transform residential neighborhoods through its zoning changes.

The revised SB50 legislation would now allow for duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes to rise in communities zoned for single-family homes, the Los Angeles Times reported.

State Sen. Scott Wiener is the mastermind behind the proposed bill, along with a previous version that was rejected last spring. The focus of the new SB50 is to build denser housing within walking distance of transit. That would be particularly beneficial in Los Angeles, which continues to suffer from a lack of affordable housing.

While it would allow for denser residential construction in more areas, the measure would prohibit developers from demolishing existing single-family homes for that purpose. Developers could also continue building single-family homes in those areas.

Fourplexes would be prohibited in communities that are at high risk of wildfire, or in the floodplains, the Times reported.

According to a UC Berkeley survey last year, up to 75 percent of developable land in the state is zoned only for single-family housing. In L.A., that figure is about 60 percent.

Wiener’s bill — a spinoff from his failed SB 827 — would also allow for larger apartment complexes in single-family home areas of more than 600,000 residents. Those areas include L.A., Orange County, San Diego and San Francisco.

SB 50 has to pass the state Senate by May 31 before it can make its way to the Assembly. It’s already met with opposition from the L.A. City Council, which voted unanimously to oppose the legislation last month, in a symbolic move. [LAT]Natalie Hoberman