A high-profile bill that would have increased home building near mass transit and in single-family neighborhoods across California has been killed for the year, ending a major battle over how to address the state’s housing affordability crisis that has attracted attention nationwide.
Senate Bill 50 by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) would have required cities to allow four-to-five-story apartment complexes near rail stations and four or more homes on land now zoned for only single-family homes across much of California.
The measure would have radically altered the state’s growth patterns to direct significant new development toward urban areas, something the bill’s backers said was necessary to make housing more affordable and to meet the state’s goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
But opponents of the legislation argued that the changes anticipated under SB 50 would have unalterably diminished the quality of life in many California neighborhoods dominated by single-family home development. Others against the bill worried that its efforts to spur building would displace low-income residents already threatened by the state’s high housing costs.
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