September 26, 2021 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Say Goodbye to SB 50, Hello to Wiener’s New SB 902

By Tom Elias, Yo! Venice Columnist

Six weeks after Californians saw the legislative failure of SB 50, an attempt to impose dense housing and high-rise buildings on most parts of this state, the bill’s author is back with yet another attack on single-family zoning throughout the state.

This one is called SB 902. It’s the third bid in the last three years by Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco to urbanize neighborhoods that neither want nor need to see their characters changed.

Wiener’s first two tries fixated on transit, mandating that cities OK apartment and condominium buildings of up to eight floors anywhere near light rail stations, and only somewhat shorter structures anywhere within hailing distance of major bus routes. Cities wanting to densify under that plan could do it just about anywhere, merely by increasing the frequency of bus traffic on particular streets.

The fix would have been in for developers and construction unions, who stood to make big money from this misguided method of allegedly fighting the state’s housing shortage.

But a coalition of homeowner groups and local officials jealous of their right to govern their own cities and counties shot it down both times.

That didn’t change Wiener’s mindset about single-family zoning. He still believes it’s an abomination to build substantial homes on decent-sized lots. For sure, anything like that contrasts starkly with Wiener’s home turf in San Francisco’s Castro District, where cheek-by-jowl wooden walkup apartment buildings of varying heights fill the cityscape.

With his new effort, Wiener’s basic idea hasn’t changed, but his tactics have. He’s no longer focusing as much on transit to decide where new housing should rise. Nor does he insist on high-rises. In fact, SB 902 is not nearly so draconian or compulsory as Wiener’s previous efforts. Which may give it a better chance for passage and the almost certain signature of Gov. Gavin Newsom, whose own flailing attempts to get millions of new homes built quickly have failed miserably so far, mostly because there aren’t enough qualified buyers for even the relatively few new homes that actually have been built. The coronavirus pandemic will reduce that group even more.

“It’s much lighter-touch housing,” Wiener said as he introduced his new measure. This one is wider-ranging than SB 50, taking in virtually all communities in the state, not merely those with active public transportation. “It’s OK for it to be broader, because many communities in California that don’t necessarily have great transit or job access are still struggling with housing…so we need housing everywhere.”

Instead of compelling everything, SB 902 compels only one thing, but also enables quite a bit. It forces an end to R-1 single family zoning everywhere in California, while giving owners the right to build or convert existing homes into small multi-family housing except where there’s high-risk for wildfires.

In part because Wiener’s previous efforts have often been derided as one-size-fits-all approaches, this bill makes distinctions between urban and rural areas. It would create a right to build or convert single family homes into multi-unit structures everywhere except commercial and industrial areas.

But in unincorporated areas and cities with fewer than 10,000 people, only duplexes are guaranteed approval on all lots. Buildings with up to three units could rise on any property in cities between 10,000 and 50,000 persons. The maximum would be four units in cities over 50,000.

This could be a way for existing homeowners having difficulty making mortgage payments to build new units and create a funding source for their payments. The bill also would not touch local height and design standards, in sharp contrast to Wiener’s earlier plans. It allows cities to upzone areas for denser housing if they wish, without going through much of today’s laborious environmental processes.

Said Wiener, “We’re serious about giving cities more and more tools to make their lives easier in…approving more housing.”

This is all a far cry from SB 50, with its firm mandates and removal of local control. But it still could change the character of many California areas.

All of which gives this plan a much better chance of becoming law than the major housing measures Wiener has sponsored before.

Email Thomas Elias at tdelias@aol.com. His book, “The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It” is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visitwww.californiafocus.net

in News
Related Posts

LAPD Arrest Venice Shooting Suspect

September 22, 2021

September 22, 2021

36-year-old man arrested in connection to September 21 incident By Chad Winthrop The Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Pacific Area...

Brig Mural Getting Restored

September 21, 2021

September 21, 2021

Original muralist Art Mortimer restoring iconic painting The historic mural on The Brig building at 1515 Abbot Kinney Blvd. is...

Recall Bonin Leader’s Home Vandalized After Address Posted on Twitter

September 21, 2021

September 21, 2021

LAPD investigating September 16 incident By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro Katrina Schmitt, one of the leaders of the Recall...

LAFD Put Out Venice House Fire

September 20, 2021

September 20, 2021

No injuries reported in Monday afternoon incident By Sam Catanzaro LAFD crews put out a house fire that broke out...

Volunteers Clear Over 5,000 Pounds Of Trash During Saturdays Beach Clean Up: YO! Venice Show – September 20, 2021

September 20, 2021

September 20, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Volunteers Clear Over 5,000 Pounds Of Trash During Saturdays Beach Clean...

Is Cash Coming Back for the Big Blue Bus?

September 17, 2021

September 17, 2021

Santa Monica City Council discusses possibility of restoring cash service for buses  By Dolores Quintana Santa Monica lawmakers recently discussed...

Inglewood Man Arrested for Playa Del Rey Hit-and-Run That Killed Mother Cradling 3-Year-Old Killed

September 17, 2021

September 17, 2021

Darwin Dantzler, 39, arrested Wednesday By Sam Catanzaro An Inglewood man was arrested this week in connection to a Playa...

UCLA Study Suggests Nearly Half of LGBT Renters Behind on Rent Fear Eviction Within 2 Months

September 17, 2021

September 17, 2021

UCLA study sheds light on concerning issue  By Susan Payne According to a recent UCLA study, nearly half of the...

Man Arrested for Shooting at Family’s Vehicle Following Mar Vista Collision

September 16, 2021

September 16, 2021

LAPD arrest Victor Manuel Espino By Sam Catanzaro Police have arrested a man for shooting at a family following a...

Man Arrest Made in Connection to Venice Boardwalk Shooting

September 16, 2021

September 16, 2021

New York man arrested as a suspect in September 8 shooting By Sam Catanzaro Police arrested a New York man...

30-Foot Yacht Washes Ashore on Venice Beach Amid Large Swell

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

No injuries reported in Tuesday night incident  By Sam Catanzaro A small yacht washed ashore on Venice Beach this week...

Vaccine and Mask Mandates for Santa Monica College In-Person Classes this Fall

September 14, 2021

September 14, 2021

As Santa Monica College returns for the fall semester new protocols are in place, learn about campus capacity, vaccine and...

Mother Cradling 3-Year-Old Killed in Playa Del Rey Hit-and-Run

September 13, 2021

September 13, 2021

LAPD searching for suspect in connection to Saturday night incident By Sam Catanzaro Police are searching for a suspect wanted...

Larry Elder Assaulted by Egg Throwers While Visiting Venice: YO! Venice Show – September 13, 2021

September 13, 2021

September 13, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Venice Beach Boardwalk Clear of Encampments, Will It Stay That Way?...

LAPD Release Video of Vehicle Sought in Fatal Venice Hit and Run

September 9, 2021

September 9, 2021

August 20 incident remains under investigation By Sam Catanzaro Police have released footage of a vehicle wanted in connection to...