Dec 09 2018

Housing Bill Encourages More Transit, Job-Centered Development

On December 3, state Senator Scott Wiener (D-11) introduced SB 50, which would allow developers to bypass local low-density zoning restrictions and build more apartment buildings near public transit and job centers. 

Within the new transit and job zones, cities would be unable to impose height limits for new apartment buildings lower than 45 or 55 feet.  Sen. Wiener pushed similar legislation in the most recent legislative session, SB 827, which was highly controversial and ultimately defeated. This time, he has OC Senator John Moorlach’s support as co-author. 

Changes from the previous iteration include stronger anti-displacement provisions and inclusion of major job centers as high-density building zones. 

Building and labor organizations that opposed SB 827 are more supportive of SB 50, as fears of displacing low-income tenants are tempered. 

Mayors in large cities like San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and Sacramento have also backed SB 50. 

Other Senators opposing Sen. Wiener’s bill are pushing bills reviving tax increment financing for development of housing near jobs or transit, though Sen. Wiener argues that voluntary programs are not consistent or strong enough to solve housing challenges. 

Senator John Moorlach has signed on as a co-author of the legislation and OCBC is being courted to signing on as a co-sponsor.

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