This is What California Needs

Rasselas

Moderator
Feb 2010
74,310
53,060
USA
Senate Bill 50 is a plan to increase housing stock near transit hubs by overriding local zoning restrictions that lock in single-family homes in urban areas all over the state.


Everyone wants to solve the housing problem in California that leads to unaffordable rents and record homelessness. Last year, our state's big-time lefties tried to push through a bill to expand rent control, but it failed because Californian's are capitalists at heart, and we know that limiting the price at a time of increasing demand will only reduce supply. We need to increase supply.

Senate Bill 50 would force localities to open up land near public transit to redevelopment into apartment buildings. This would disturb long-existing single-family neighborhoods (with homes enjoying an average $600,000 selling price) but allow the creation of housing stock to match California's population. And it allows some flexibility for locales to micromanage the change:

Two questions have dogged Wiener’s effort to loosen the straitjacket. First, how could a bill that upsets so many homeowners and local officials ever pass? And second, even if the bill passes, what’s to keep homeowner-dominated cities from making the nominally permissible new housing practically impossible to build? To mollify opponents, Wiener has made it clear that his bill would not touch local authority over demolition controls, design standards, permitting procedures, impact fees, and more. But the less that the bill preempts, the easier it will be to evade.

The new version of SB 50 deftly resolves this dilemma. Instead of immediately “up-zoning” all residential parcels within a half mile of a transit stop—as the prior versions would have done—the bill defines a default zoning “envelope” for these parcels. Local governments will get two years either to accept the default or propose an alternative “local flexibility plan” that creates an equivalent amount of developable space in the aggregate, while also scoring well on certain transit and fair-housing metrics. A flexibility plan takes effect only if approved by the state housing department; otherwise, the SB 50 up-zoning kicks in, by default.
I've been arguing for a while now that California's cities need to build up. That's the only way out of our housing crisis. It's a shame that some house-rich Californians will have to give up their ultra-pampered lifestyle, but our state's economy can't grow without more affordable housing. Capitalism is the only way out.
 
Mar 2012
60,804
42,094
New Hampshire
Senate Bill 50 is a plan to increase housing stock near transit hubs by overriding local zoning restrictions that lock in single-family homes in urban areas all over the state.


Everyone wants to solve the housing problem in California that leads to unaffordable rents and record homelessness. Last year, our state's big-time lefties tried to push through a bill to expand rent control, but it failed because Californian's are capitalists at heart, and we know that limiting the price at a time of increasing demand will only reduce supply. We need to increase supply.

Senate Bill 50 would force localities to open up land near public transit to redevelopment into apartment buildings. This would disturb long-existing single-family neighborhoods (with homes enjoying an average $600,000 selling price) but allow the creation of housing stock to match California's population. And it allows some flexibility for locales to micromanage the change:

I've been arguing for a while now that California's cities need to build up. That's the only way out of our housing crisis. It's a shame that some house-rich Californians will have to give up their ultra-pampered lifestyle, but our state's economy can't grow without more affordable housing. Capitalism is the only way out.
We did a bit of that here in New England over the last 5 years or so, but the problem ended up that landlords made the rents so high it didnt work. They tried various stabs at rent control and subsidies but it just didnt work. Also, the towns complained that they needed far more services for the new higher amounts of residents but they didnt contribute as much in property/school taxes to help. So taxes went up dramatically to pay for that and many investors pulled out. Its still a huge problem here. Do you think California can do other things differently? Lots more people bring a huge need for more schools, teachers, police, fire etc and that doesnt come cheap.
 
Mar 2012
60,804
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New Hampshire
Also as a local urban planning developer, I wonder how the transportation is there? Has there been studies as to where the bulk of the workers commute to? Because living near mass transit is great if the transit goes to the job. But if people are commuting over an hour away and need to transfer 3 or 4 times on a bus, its less likely it helps that much. Its a dilemma for sure. The city of Roxbury, MA put in high rise affordable housing right next to MBTA stops back in the early 90s to help with affordability. It was great for a bit. People lived close and used transit. Then a recession hit. Companies laid off and refused to pay the higher taxes and headed out to the "128 belt" as its known in the area. No transportation. So suddenly the residents had a job but no way of getting there. Over the next 15 years, the development fell apart as jobs moved out further and further. Today the area has been bulldozed for "green areas."
 

Rasselas

Moderator
Feb 2010
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53,060
USA
We did a bit of that here in New England over the last 5 years or so, but the problem ended up that landlords made the rents so high it didnt work. They tried various stabs at rent control and subsidies but it just didnt work.
Did you read the OP? This isn't about rent control or subsidies--just lifting building restrictions.
Also, the towns complained that they needed far more services for the new higher amounts of residents but they didn't contribute as much in property/school taxes to help. So taxes went up dramatically to pay for that and many investors pulled out. Its still a huge problem here. Do you think California can do other things differently? Lots more people bring a huge need for more schools, teachers, police, fire etc and that doesnt come cheap.
The number of people isn't going to change. We have many people who are homeless precisely because rents are too high now. Increasing the amount of housing stock will DECREASE prices, because that's what increasing supply does. And homeless people don't pay any property tax now.

Also, we aren't talking about building low-income housing at public expense, just rezoning some areas so developers can replace R1 housing with R2.

I don't know what the economic forces were in the situation you cite, but I'm not even sure you know what they bill does, considering your answer.
 
Last edited:

Rasselas

Moderator
Feb 2010
74,310
53,060
USA
Also as a local urban planning developer, I wonder how the transportation is there? Has there been studies as to where the bulk of the workers commute to? Because living near mass transit is great if the transit goes to the job. But if people are commuting over an hour away and need to transfer 3 or 4 times on a bus, its less likely it helps that much. Its a dilemma for sure. The city of Roxbury, MA put in high rise affordable housing right next to MBTA stops back in the early 90s to help with affordability. It was great for a bit. People lived close and used transit. Then a recession hit. Companies laid off and refused to pay the higher taxes and headed out to the "128 belt" as its known in the area. No transportation. So suddenly the residents had a job but no way of getting there. Over the next 15 years, the development fell apart as jobs moved out further and further. Today the area has been bulldozed for "green areas."
We're not talking about building more housing for long distance commuters--we have tons of those already. We're talking about middle class people who want to live where the jobs are but cannot because they cannot afford the cost of living--teachers and such. And the tax situation is quite different. California has Prop 13, which limits how we can tax real estate, both residential and commercial. It incentivizes everyone to stay put, and it forces us to tax economic activity rather than real property.
 

Rasselas

Moderator
Feb 2010
74,310
53,060
USA
Also as a local urban planning developer, I wonder how the transportation is there? Has there been studies as to where the bulk of the workers commute to? Because living near mass transit is great if the transit goes to the job. But if people are commuting over an hour away and need to transfer 3 or 4 times on a bus, its less likely it helps that much. Its a dilemma for sure. The city of Roxbury, MA put in high rise affordable housing right next to MBTA stops back in the early 90s to help with affordability. It was great for a bit. People lived close and used transit. Then a recession hit. Companies laid off and refused to pay the higher taxes and headed out to the "128 belt" as its known in the area. No transportation. So suddenly the residents had a job but no way of getting there. Over the next 15 years, the development fell apart as jobs moved out further and further. Today the area has been bulldozed for "green areas."
I don't know about Southern California, but public transport in the Bay Area is pretty prolific. Several commuter rail operations, plus busses of course (and in SF, the Muni). Our problem is people having to commute long distances for work just to GET to public transport:
Welcome to the land of super commuters. The Bay Area and surrounding communities are leading the way with most people traveling three or more hours to work and back home each day.

According to an Apartment List study, 3.5 million Americans are super commuters. The Bay Area and surrounding regions lead the nation with more than 120,000 people commuting at least three hours.


Stockton tops the list with 11.2 percent of the workforce being super commuters. Modesto, just south of Stockton, is number two with 8.7 percent super commuters. San Francisco, Oakland, Hayward is number six with 4.8 percent super commuters.

Why the long drive? For the people in the San Joaquin Valley, they get the lower housing costs with access to the higher paying jobs. There's also another benefit according to Apartment List. Super commuters earn 12 percent more on average than those who work in the same industry but enjoy more reasonable commutes.

Local efforts in the Central Valley (where Stockton and Modesto are located) to get tech companies to move some operations here have been unsuccessful.
 
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Libertine

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Apr 2015
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Senate Bill 50 is a plan to increase housing stock near transit hubs by overriding local zoning restrictions that lock in single-family homes in urban areas all over the state.


Everyone wants to solve the housing problem in California that leads to unaffordable rents and record homelessness. Last year, our state's big-time lefties tried to push through a bill to expand rent control, but it failed because Californian's are capitalists at heart, and we know that limiting the price at a time of increasing demand will only reduce supply. We need to increase supply.

Senate Bill 50 would force localities to open up land near public transit to redevelopment into apartment buildings. This would disturb long-existing single-family neighborhoods (with homes enjoying an average $600,000 selling price) but allow the creation of housing stock to match California's population. And it allows some flexibility for locales to micromanage the change:

I've been arguing for a while now that California's cities need to build up. That's the only way out of our housing crisis. It's a shame that some house-rich Californians will have to give up their ultra-pampered lifestyle, but our state's economy can't grow without more affordable housing. Capitalism is the only way out.

This legislation is the opposite of capitalism.

California's housing problems are the direct result of bad policy and legislation in California that artificially drove up the cost of housing and the total cost of living in the state and especially in urban areas.
 
Mar 2012
60,804
42,094
New Hampshire
Did you read the OP? This isn't about rent control or subsidies--just lifting building restrictions. The number of people isn't going to change. We have many people who are homeless precisely because rents are too high now. Increasing the amount of housing stock will DECREASE prices, because that's what increasing supply does. And homeless people don't pay any property tax now.

Also, we aren't talking about building low-income housing at public expense, just rezoning some areas so developers can replace R1 housing with R2.

I don't know what the economic forces were in the situation you cite, but I'm not even sure you know what they bill does, considering your answer.
I did read the article. But just lifting building restrictions doesnt provide homes for the homeless. Unless they end up being all shelters. I know logically increasing the amount of housing should decrease prices, but often it hasnt since the influx of newcomers often keeps it the same. Rezoning tends to just bring more people into an already congested area.
 
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Mar 2012
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New Hampshire
This legislation is the opposite of capitalism.

California's housing problems are the direct result of bad policy and legislation in California that artificially drove up the cost of housing and the total cost of living in the state and especially in urban areas.
It sounds a lot like gentrification as new, multi family units with all the latest and most modern building codes will be costly to low income people. Return of the "yuppie" as it was known around here when it was proposed to do something similar. Theoretically sure it could work as it would force wealthy areas to comply, but as we all know average middle class neighborhoods will be where it occurs. Wealthy areas will be gated or some such process and more livable areas could be congested and lacking open spaces.

"Tenants-rights groups and low-income-housing advocates argue that S.B. 50 would not do enough to create housing for the poor, and might supercharge displacement in neighborhoods where even high-income residents are seeing themselves priced out. “Incentivizing more luxury development and inflating property values in San Francisco will further exacerbate real estate speculation, which has already played a key role in displacing low and moderate-income tenants, immigrants, seniors and families across California,” argues the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, which advocates for tenants. Goodbye to green, single-family neighborhoods, and hello to traffic-gnarled, high-rise apartments."

 
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Feb 2015
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Senate Bill 50 is a plan to increase housing stock near transit hubs by overriding local zoning restrictions that lock in single-family homes in urban areas all over the state.


Everyone wants to solve the housing problem in California that leads to unaffordable rents and record homelessness. Last year, our state's big-time lefties tried to push through a bill to expand rent control, but it failed because Californian's are capitalists at heart, and we know that limiting the price at a time of increasing demand will only reduce supply. We need to increase supply.

Senate Bill 50 would force localities to open up land near public transit to redevelopment into apartment buildings. This would disturb long-existing single-family neighborhoods (with homes enjoying an average $600,000 selling price) but allow the creation of housing stock to match California's population. And it allows some flexibility for locales to micromanage the change:

I've been arguing for a while now that California's cities need to build up. That's the only way out of our housing crisis. It's a shame that some house-rich Californians will have to give up their ultra-pampered lifestyle, but our state's economy can't grow without more affordable housing. Capitalism is the only way out.
i agree. i also agree with building up like NYC.

lol.. as we were driving past a golf course and i was thinking that we should take that land and build housing.