Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed a bill that would require cities to approve up to four housing units on what was once single-family land.
The legislation, Senate Bill 9, will allow the split lots to be sold separately. Homeowners looking to divide a lot will have to swear that they plan to have one of the units as their primary residence for at least three years.
The bill, by San Diego State Senate Chief Toni Atkins, was fiercely opposed by 241 cities and many groups across the state who argued it was removing local zoning control. The idea behind the legislation is that increasing housing options could lower costs and allow people to live in the neighborhoods where they work.
Critics of the bill argue that it may not create as much housing as lawmakers believe, as average homeowners may not have enough money to redevelop their lots, so leading to gentrification in existing neighborhoods instead of reducing costs.
Q: Did Governor Newsom make the right economic choice in approving Senate Bill 9?
Ray Major, SANDAG
YES: New state and local laws promote an increase in housing density. Historically, many parcels in San Diego County were defined under a different set of regulations that encouraged suburban-type developments with relatively large lots and low densities, and most of these residential parcels were developed. Redefining lot boundaries will free up much needed space to help alleviate the housing crisis and benefit owners who have not had the opportunity to develop their property in an optimal and optimal manner.
Lynn Reaser, Point Loma Nazarene University
NO: The legislation seizes the property rights of homeowners who bought their properties in the hope that they would buy in an area zoned for similar single-family homes. Without requiring additional infrastructure, this leads to parking problems, school overcrowding, and additional strain on police, fire protection and other public services. It eliminates open or green spaces without compensating for parks. It usurps the local control and broad public input that shaped community plans and their updates.
Reginald Jones, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation
NO: While well designed to increase housing stock, Senate Bill 9 has the potential for unintended consequences. It may be beneficial for those with access to capital to redevelop their property, but less so for black and brown homeowners who typically have more limited equity and ability to raise financing. Even with the three-year âintentâ residency requirement, speculators could make unsavory deals with disadvantaged homeowners. For those who have invested in place, the potential change in community character is another concern.
Kelly Cunningham, San Diego Institute for Economic Research
NO: It’s hard to conceive of a more invasive action than the legislature could take from cities beyond local control, affecting nearly seven million California homeowners who have successfully acquired their own single-family homes. The law creates a huge opportunity for real estate speculators to take over established single-family neighborhoods, increase housing density in areas not intended for such numbers, and defeat well-established planning goals. encouraging development near public transport corridors and employment centers.
Phil Blair, Workforce
NO: Adding unreasonable units to currently zoned neighborhoods is unreasonable. Our residential streets will be transformed into parking lots. There are many opportunities for housing in areas currently zoned industrial or commercial. Why not build over huge retail stores with acres of parking at night? The city of San Diego and the county must first maximize their land.
Gary London, London Moeder Advisors
YES: We need housing to support our economy, and this legislation urges the local government to allow it, after decades of resistance. Disclaimer: I don’t see a realistic scenario where infill will bring enough additional housing to bring down our regional prices. But because land costs are the most important factor in home prices, building on quartered land means building homes on less land. So these will be cheaper houses. And most will be rentals.
Alan Gin, University of San Diego
YES: There is a desperate housing shortage in the state, especially in coastal areas. Despite the detractors, people still want to live on the California coast and they are no longer making land. The only solution for fully built up areas is to allow increased density. Senate Bill 9 does this, but includes safeguards against projects that threaten public health and safety. It is not the complete solution, but every little step is necessary to address the state’s housing affordability problem.
Bob Rauch, RA Rauch & Associates
Do not participate this week.
Austin Neudecker, Weave Growth
NO: I am not yet convinced that the bill does what it attempts: to address the serious problems of housing availability and affordability. The bill is well-intentioned, but appears to be drafted without serious consideration around the impacts of increased density (e.g. parking), nor the likelihood that the main beneficiaries will be commercial real estate investors and home sellers (not home sellers). buyers / tenants). If the state plans to override local jurisdictions, a more nuanced bill is needed.
James Hamilton, UC San Diego
NO: If my neighbor builds four houses on the land next to me, his property’s value goes up and mine goes down. Should he have to compensate me if he does? Zoning bylaws are one way to deal with this problem, by allowing him and me to commit to the characteristics of the neighborhood in which we plan to live in advance. Local regulations are imperfect, but preferable to one size fits all. all dictate from Sacramento.
Chris Van Gorder, Health Scripps
NO: The answer to the housing problem is not for the state to take control of zoning laws away from elected officials and voters. It will only be solved by making it cheaper to build new housing and collective housing in suitable locations. The development of multiple units on what used to be single-family land will increase traffic congestion and put a strain on the community’s resources and infrastructure. Developers and speculators will profit at the expense of longtime residents.
Norm Miller, University of San Diego
NO: While I applaud the effort to increase housing supply and affordability, and I like to limit the powers of the California Coastal Commission, this sweeping bill clashes with restrictive height limits that make it almost impossible to add density without demolishing houses and building micro-units, then without adequate parking. I suspect most cities will end up in lawsuits with the state. Perhaps it would be more effective to challenge restrictive covenants on minimum lot sizes and height restrictions in areas close to public transport?
Jamie Moraga, IntelliSolutions
NO: While homelessness and affordable housing remain a critical issue in our state, Senate Bill 9 is a step in the right direction, but it is unlikely to have a significant impact. The bill undermines local planning and control and could have unintended consequences, including overcrowding and stressed infrastructure. It may also provide an opportunity for community land trusts and qualified nonprofits to develop the properties as they are exempt from the three year owner occupation requirement. Reducing red tape (including fees / taxes / regulations) as well as labor and building material costs in California could help lower home building costs and increase affordability.
David Ely, San Diego State University
YES: Too many California households are spending too much of their income on rent or mortgage payments because housing supply has not kept pace with demand. Increasing housing density will help to remedy the imbalance. Until the housing stock increases and becomes more affordable, employers will face ever greater challenges in attracting and retaining employees. Senate Bill 9 alone will not solve the housing crisis, but is a step in the right direction.
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