California State Senator Scott Wiener took to Twitter and a blog post on Medium this morning to announce a new package of bills that puts forward a "housing-first" policy. According to Senator Wiener, his three proposed bills would:
- Mandate denser and taller zoning near transit.
- Create a more data-driven and less political Regional Housing Needs Assessment process (RHNA provides local communities with numerical housing goals) and require communities to address past RHNA shortfalls.
- Make it easier to build farmworker housing while maintaining strong worker protections.
The density and building height mandates referenced in the first point are included in SB 827. Senator Wiener's post criticizes the ubiquity of transit stations surrounded by single-family zoning, and states his cause: " Transit-rich areas are *exactly* where we should be putting dense housing. We must build more housing near transit so that we can reduce reliance on cars and so that more people can access the benefits of transit."
As for how the bill would achieve those goals, Senator Wiener writes:
Under SB 827, parcels within a half-mile of high-connectivity transit hub — like BART, Muni, Caltrain, and LA Metro stations — will be required to have no density maximums (such as single family home mandates), no parking minimums, and a minimum height limit of between 45 and 85 feet, depending on various factors, such as whether the parcel is on a larger corridor and whether it is immediately adjacent to the station. A local ordinance can increase that height but not go below it.