For those who haven’t heard yet, California State Senate Bill 827 (a.k.a. SB 827) is likely to be THE topic of conversation in the housing and development sphere in California this year. The bill, introduced by California State Senator Scott Weiner, would drastically restructure zoning limitations within half a mile of major transit (train and bus) lines, throughout the state, to make it easier to build more and denser housing in those areas (including almost all of urban Los Angeles). The bill would also override most local zoning efforts and designations, and would not allow for as much input from neighbors and other local groups when new developments are proposed.
On one side, many housing advocates are lauding the bill, saying it’s a drastic but necessary way to remove many of the barriers to desperately needed new housing construction. At the same time, many neighborhood advocates and local governments are raising an outcry, saying the bill ignores local considerations in individual cities and could be the death-knell for single family neighborhoods. Still others are worried that the bill could also accelerate displacement of lower and middle income residents (those most likely to use public transit) from transit-rich areas…and accelerate gentrification and the over-proliferation of high-end housing. So far, Los Angeles City Council Members David Ryu, Herb Wesson and Paul Koretz have publicly opposed the bill (Ryu, with Wesson’s backing, recently introduced a resolution calling for formal opposition from the full City Council)…while Mayor Eric Garcetti expressed conditional support in a recent interview with the San Jose Mercury News, but then backpedaled a bit after that.
This week, Weiner introduced a set of amendments to the bill, aimed at addressing some of the major concerns from opponents, which may shift the discussion again.
All of this means that a town hall meeting to discuss the bill, scheduled for this Saturday, March 3, promises to be a must-attend for people interested in the topic. “The Future of Los Angeles: Building A Better Tomorrow,” will be hosted by California State Assemblymember Laura Friedman, and will feature Weiner and others discussing SB 827 and the issues that led to it. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Camino Theater at Los Angeles City College, 855 N. Vermont Ave., 90029.
According to the event description:
The housing crisis in California is hitting communities large and small. For decades, we’ve built homes without fully taking into consideration transportation needs, and nowhere is that more evident than in our own backyard.
With skyrocketing rents and home prices across Southern California coupled with the nation’s worst traffic congestion, Los Angeles is at a tipping point. Can we shift our way of thinking to focus not solely on building more homes, but building sustainable communities?
Please join me and our special guest, Senator Scott Wiener for a town hall discussion on housing. We’ll cover the scope of the problems facing us as well as proposed solutions, including Senator Wiener’s SB 827. You’ll hear from experts and advocates on what’s ahead for our region, the potential impact of legislation, and have an opportunity to share your thoughts and recommendations.
If you’re interested in attending, RSVPs are requested at [email protected]