Microblog #45: Lessons from California

SB827 would have revolutionized housing in California. Why did it fail?

California Senate Bill 827, which would have overridden local zoning laws to permit denser housing near transit stops, failed to advance in committee last month. The bill’s author, Sen. Scott Wiener of San Fransisco, introduced the legislation to achieve two things: first, to promote more sustainable, transit-oriented development and reduce sprawl; and second, to prevent localities from denying housing via exclusionary zoning.

As expected, the bill garnered major opposition from local governments and neighborhood associations – especially those in wealthier enclaves. While this traditional “NIMBY” backlash wasn’t surprising, many tenant organizations and activists opposed SB827 due to concerns about gentrification and other adverse impacts on low-income communities (despite support from many nonprofit affordable housing developers).

Click here to read a detailed postmortem on the bill from Beyond Chron. Housers here in Virginia would do well to understand, and learn from, this west-coast debate.

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