California Lawmakers Kill Housing Bill After Fierce Debate

By Conor Dougherty : nytimes – excerpt

SACRAMENTO — Just before a committee of California state senators voted on a landmark bill to ramp up housing production by overriding local resistance, legislator after legislator talked about a dire affordable-housing crisis that demanded bold action and a marked increase in new building.

Then they killed the bill.

The vote here on Tuesday evening highlighted the emergence of California’s housing and homeless problem — and the fraught question of how to address it — as a potent election-year issue that promises to dominate the state’s politics for years.

The ferocity of that debate was on display throughout a meeting of the State Senate’s Transportation and Housing Committee, which met to vote on a divisive bill that would force local governments to accept higher-density projects around transit centers like train stations.

The bill, called S.B. 827, was introduced by Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco, and would have allowed developers to build five-story condominiums and apartment buildings near rail stops, even if local governments and zoning codes prohibited developments of that size…(more)

There are some details about construction around San Francisco that should be addressed to see the whole picture. We have a labor shortage that is slowing production of the housing projects that are already entitled. When you can’t find a contractor that wants to bid on a project, you can’t build the project. Passing a bill damanding cities build more does nothing to solve a labor shortage. We also have a problem with toxic soil. Three of the largest projects in San Francisco are on hold waiting for toxic cleanups on old navy properties. Harassing cities with draconian legal obligations is not going to solve these problems.


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