SB-50 redux? State Sen. Scott Wiener presents his latest density bill

Senate Bill 902 is the third iteration of a housing bill Wiener first proposed in 2018

State Senator Scott Wiener (Credit: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images)
State Senator Scott Wiener (Credit: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images)

California State Sen. Scott Wiener has returned to Sacramento with a new, pared back version of his signature statewide housing density bill.

Senate Bill 902 would allow developers to build up to fourplex units in single family neighborhoods across the state without additional local approval, according to the Los Angeles Times.

It effectively supersedes local government limits on density, which critics argue severely hinders housing development. The bill would not supersede local zoning limits on the size of buildings in those neighborhoods, but would allow developers to add more multiple units on one property.

The bill is essentially a lighter version of Senate Bill 50, itself a lighter version of Wiener’s first and highly ambitious housing bill, Senate Bill 827. The Senate rejected both over concerns they took too much control over development away from local officials.

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SB 50 was put on ice last year, but Weiner gave it one more shot in the current legislative session, but the Senate voted down that version too.

As currently written, SB 902 would also provide incentives for cities allowing 10-unit projects and would exempt rezoning for those projects from an often lengthy and costly review under the California Environmental Quality Act following a vote by local officials.

Weiner called it “sort of a light touch density [with the] potential to substantially increase housing supply over time,” according to the Times.

Data from the state Department of Finance suggest that more than three-quarters of California cities would have to allow fourplexes on its existing residentially zoned land. [LAT] Dennis Lynch