Housing Bill burns through California


(Housing Bill)

Local control of how we build may be at risk

Recently a Senator from San Francisco, Senator Scott Weiner, brought SB 50, a controversial housing bill that aims to increase housing density around public transport. His first attempt was a failure, but a revised form of the bill has been brought back to the table and is making waves throughout California.

Essentially the new bill gives cities and counties twoyears to develop their own plans to spur development in their communities, that development being the construction of multistory housing facilities near transit hubs.

The previous version of the bill was shot down because of its inflexibility toward communities. It creates a standard that may not be possible for every small town and county to achieve without disruption of the community. According to Senator Weiner “They want to be able to have some flexibility to increase the density in their community in their own way,”. This new rendition of the bill however, while allowing more time for adaptation, still removes the power of choice from those who run and manage the city.

Regardless of the changes, the intensely contested bill continues to incite housing advocates. On top of the communal drawbacks, there is no consensus as to whether or not the bill would actually do anything to create affordable housing. There is worry it will do more for the tech and real estate industry than for the state’s ongoing housing crisis.

For these reasons San Jacinto’s City Council has decided to formally oppose the bill in a letter of opposition on behalf of the City to State Legislators. Above all the removal of control from the local government is a point on which they will not yield. San Jacinto, like many other cities in California is nuanced and individual. Forcing San Jacinto and places like it to conform to uniform building laws not only strips local government of power, but also removes the character and personality of a place.

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