Statewide bill would allow duplex development on single-family parcels

SB 1120 is latest measure to address California’s deepening housing crisis, but opposition awaits

California State Senator Scott Wiener and Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins
California State Senator Scott Wiener and Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins

State lawmakers are considering a bill to end restrictive single-family zoning statewide, another measure aimed at addressing California’s mounting housing crunch.

Senate Bill 1120 would allow a property owner to convert a single-family home into a duplex or demolish it entirely to build two single-family homes or one duplex, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A homeowner could also split the property into two lots and build a duplex on each, quadrupling the number of units on the original parcel, according to the report.

Authored by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego, the bill would not bar property owners from building single-family homes. It would prevent local jurisdictions from restricting the owner of a property to a single-family house.

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The measure passed in the Senate, and is now in the Assembly. It needs approval from both houses and from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Similar bills to open up single-family parcels for more dense development have tried and failed, meeting with fierce opposition from suburban residents in predominantly single-family neighborhoods. Their contention has been that such bills threaten the character of those neighborhoods.

Advocates of such pro-density bills argue they would help address the state’s housing crisis by boosting supply and lowering prices.

Sen. Scott Wiener, who has been a vocal advocate of higher-density measures, proposed a similar bill in March. That measure, SB 902, was largely seen as a scaled-back version of his own SB 50, which failed to pass. SB 50 was introduced after his first density proposal, SB 827, also failed. [LAT] Dennis Lynch