It’s Baaaaack. Scott Wiener Introduces New Housing Density Bill.

In his latest attempt to increase housing density throughout the state, Senator Scott Wiener has introduced SB 902, which would allow multifamily housing in residential zones. He describes the bill as a “light touch” compared to its ancestor SB50. But a look at the details shows why it could still be problematic, especially for local governments.

The bill by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) would allow construction of duplex, triplex and fourplex residential units without additional local government approval in single-family neighborhoods using what’s known as “by-right” provisions of state law. 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.

While the bill would not change local control over the size and shape of housing built in those neighborhoods, it would supersede local zoning rules that have limited density.

“It will create a baseline zoning for the state,” Wiener said. “This is sort of a light touch density, but it has the potential to substantially increase housing supply over time.” — Los Angeles Times

Under SB 902, over 3/4 of cities would have to allow multifamily housing in residential zones. Cities would retain control over height requirements and other standards. “Very high fire hazard areas” would be exempt.

The bill also address the CEQA process, but whether it goes far enough remains to be seen. Under its provisions, cities that are willing to allow 10-unit complexes can bypass additional CEQA reviews.

Read the bill.


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