New legislation (Senate Bill 902) to supposedly solve the State’s massive homelessness problem was introduced in early March 2020 after the State Senate rejected Senator Scott Wiener’s effort to force California communities into adding more housing units in single-family neighborhoods proposals, former Senate Bill 50, in January 2020.

Senate Bill 902 would allow construction of duplex, triplex, and fourplex residential units without additional local government approval in single-family neighborhoods. The number of units that could be built would depend on the size of the city, with fourplex projects aimed at cities with a population greater than 50,000. The law would supersede local zoning rules that have limited density, and create a baseline zoning for the state.

Senate Bill 902 also has the potential to substantially increase housing supply over time, and seeks to provide incentives for larger cities that are willing to allow 10-unit projects. These zoning efforts would be exempt from additional review under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Senate leaders promised a comprehensive approach this spring to the lack of housing production in California. Amidst the spread of COVID-19, it is unclear whether this timeline has been affected.