Legislative Push for State Housing Reform Continues into 2018
The California State Legislature began its efforts on housing reform early in 2018, with the release of SB 827 (Weiner) on January 3. This follows the approval of several housing reform bills in 2017. These bills focus on streamlining permitting, enforcing regional housing production benchmarks, and preventing municipalities from down-zoning parcels or rejecting by-right projects. SB 827 continues this trend.
SB 827 focuses on reducing the ability of NIMBYism to stop housing projects near transit corridors or mass transits stops. The bill overrides local municipal code requirements regarding density, height, and parking requirements for projects within ¼ mile of a transit corridor or one block from a major transit stop. City’s with strict land use controls, such as San Francisco, would likely see the most radical changes under this bill.
In a press release announcing the SB 827, Senator Weiner cited to one analysis which estimates that the bill could assist in creating up to three million new transit-accessible homes. Currently, the State has 1.16 million housing units that can be considered transit-oriented. However, the chances of this bill passing in its current form are unlikely. NIMBYism is an undeniable obstacle to new housing construction, but it is unlikely that municipalities will tolerate a loss of their planning and zoning powers. Still, efforts such as this keeps a spotlight on the State’s critical need to build more houses.