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California State Senator wants to mandate denser and taller zoning near transit

California State Senator, Scott Wiener, introduced 3 new bills at the beginning of this year intended to address the statewide housing shortage and continue the pivot from a housing-last agenda to a housing-first agenda.

Here is a summary of the 3 bills:

These three bills (1) mandate denser and taller zoning near transit; (2) create a more data-driven and less political Regional Housing Needs Assessment process (RHNA provides local communities with numerical housing goals) and require communities to address past RHNA shortfalls; and (3) make it easier to build farmworker housing while maintaining strong worker protections.

And here is a bit more information about the first one:

SB 827 creates density and height zoning minimums near transit. Under SB 827, parcels within a half-mile of high-connectivity transit hub — like BART, Muni, Caltrain, and LA Metro stations — will be required to have no density maximums (such as single family home mandates), no parking minimums, and a minimum height limit of between 45 and 85 feet, depending on various factors, such as whether the parcel is on a larger corridor and whether it is immediately adjacent to the station. A local ordinance can increase that height but not go below it. SB 827 allows for many more smaller apartment buildings, described as the “missing middle” between high-rise steel construction and single family homes.

The belief is that transit-oriented sites in the state of California have the potential to accommodate up to 3 million additional housing units.

Fewer barriers to creating new housing. More data. And less politics. You can read more about Wiener’s 2018 housing package over on Medium.

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