A controversial housing bill that would have made sweeping changes to California’s zoning rules won’t advance this year, after lawmakers decided Thursday to hold the measure’s next vote until 2020.
If passed, Senate Bill 50 would allow fourplexes in neighborhoods zoned for single-family homes, and force cities to approve taller, denser apartment buildings near transit stops and in “job-rich” communities. But moments before the bill was set to undergo a key vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee, lawmakers announced the bill will be held for the rest of the year, coming back up for a vote in January.
“While I’m deeply disappointed that the Chair of the Appropriations Committee has decided to postpone SB 50 until 2020 — since we have a housing crisis right now — we are one hundred percent committed to moving the legislation forward,” the bill’s author, state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, wrote in an emailed statement. “California faces a 3.5 million home shortage — equal to the combined housing shortage of the other 49 states — and the status quo isn’t working.
California’s failed housing policy is pushing people into homelessness, poverty, and two-hour commutes, is pushing working families out of their communities and out of the state entirely, and is undermining California’s climate goals. We need to do things differently when it comes to housing. We’re either serious about solving this crisis, or we aren’t.
At some point, we will need to make the hard political choices necessary for California to have a bright housing future.”
To have a shot at passing next year, SB 50 would need to get out of the Appropriations Committee and off the Senate floor by the end of January.