Wiener’s first bill could set off housing war

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Should the state force cities to build more market-rate housing? Who decides how much?

State Senator Scott Wiener has wasted no time in wading into the statewide housing wars – just as affordable housing advocates have released a detailed policy platform for addressing the state’s affordability crisis.

A few hours after being sworn in to office, Wiener introduced SB 35, which states the intent of the Legislature to “incentivize the creation of affordable housing [and] remove local barriers to creating affordable housing in all communities.” That sounds perfectly reasonable (except that “incentivize” isn’t really a word): If some cities and counties go out of their way to refuse to accept low-income housing (and some have, and do), maybe the state should say: Hey, you can’t just preserve your rich enclave and keep poor people out.

But it also calls for the state to “streamline, incentivize [not a word], and remove local barriers to housing construction in jurisdictions failing to meet their regional housing needs contained in their housing element.”

Again: If that means Cupertino and Mountainview can’t approve massive tech offices and refuse to build any housing at all, good.

But if it turns out to mean that San Francisco, which is among the top three cities in the state in housing development right now, can’t block market-rate projects that lead to displacement, then Wiener is going to see serious opposition… (more)

 

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