State bills advancing quietly to eliminate single-family zones – Letter to the Editor

With the pandemic and mass protests in media headlines, the State Legislature is quietly fast tracking the agenda to end single-family zones in California. SB 1120 (Atkins-Wiener) will allow lot subdivisions and duplexes on a single-family parcel, so that one house can become 4 units, or 8 including by-right accessory dwelling units. This comes with minimal or no requirements on parking provisions. SB 902 (Wiener-Atkins) goes even further to institutionalize autocracy: it permits a local government to pass an ordinance, exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act and regardless of any initiatives placed by voters, to allow up to 10 housing units in any parcel in a job-rich, transit-rich or urban infill site. Will the gold rush make it harder for home-buyers to compete with developers and investors who want new unaffordable housing ? What happens with inadequate infrastructure, destabilized neighborhoods, or destruction of ecosystem services provided by single-family zones?

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