“State Sen. Scott Wiener remained undeterred after this year’s unceremonious demise of his controversial transit density bill, SB 827, vowing almost immediately to bring it back. As the next legislative session gears up, some key revisions to his approach could signal fairer political winds ahead. Senate Bill 50 places tenant protections and union labor requirements front and center, but as with last year’s legislative battles, other bills in the Democratic housing strategy could pack an even greater punch…
While SB 50 remains in its early drafting stages, enough details have been worked out to win over key stakeholders who opposed Wiener’s earlier effort, including organized labor. The State Building & Construction Trades Council of California, which opposed SB 827, now endorses SB 50, as the bill includes a provision that would preserve statewide labor standards.
“We believe that working together will significantly advance transit-oriented development policies that provide residents, especially working families, access to affordable housing, services, and reliable and clean modes of transportation,” stated Cesar Diaz, Legislative and Political Director for the group. “We look forward to working with Senator Wiener to promote policies that will build more affordable housing while protecting workers and communities.”
Michael Lane, Policy Director for the Non-Profit Housing Association of North California (NPHANC), also emphasized that increasing density in high-cost urban areas was essential to providing nonprofit affordable housing for households who are unable to afford soaring market-rate prices.
“Multi-family sites are among the rarest, particularly in suburban jurisdictions, and our nonprofit developers are competing with market-rate,” Lane said. “It’s important to open up more sites for affordable housing, we think, and it could hopefully put downward pressure on real estate prices.”
Lane also stressed that even modest density, so long as it didn’t restrict land to single-family dwellings, is a basic condition for developing affordable housing. “It could just be a two-story walk-up structure, but obviously single-family zoning doesn’t work for that,” he said.”
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