California Senate Bill 50 aims to ease the state's ongoing affordability crisis by removing local development restrictions, while setting distinct rules for high- and low-income neighborhoods.
As well, the bill would keep developers from using the bill's incentives on land occupied by tenants for the past seven years or longer. The proposed bill comes after opposition to a previous version in 2018 that zoned higher-density housing near transit stops, not accounting for demographics, National Mortgage News reports. "We are trying to strike a balance," says bill author Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco of the new version.
Under SB 50, wealthy areas near jobs and good schools would have to relax zoning rules to allow low-rise apartments and town homes. Areas near bus stops with frequent service would do the same, while developers could build four- to five-story residential complexes near rail stations.
Neighborhoods zoned single-family wouldn't be exempt. But certain "sensitive communities" at risk of gentrification would. That exception would last five years to give the neighborhoods time to craft an alternative plan to boost housing supply while protecting residents from displacement.