Californians are still debating over legislation signed into effect on September 16th, 2021 by Governor Gavin Newsom. The goal was to tackle the housing crisis that the state is facing, which continues to grow, operating in step with the California Comeback Plan.
How this new legislation was meant to help
The legislation is comprised of several bills: Senate Bills 8, 9, 10, and Assembly Bill 1174. Among the aims of the bills was building out the production of new housing through a streamlined permitting process so that fewer projects are tied up in paperwork. These bills also promoted greater housing density in closer proximity to the places where jobs are located.
The Housing Crisis Act of 2019 included provisions to increase housing production which were set to expire in 2025. With Senate Bill 8, these provisions were extended through 2030.
A lack of consensus how to handle the crisis
The bills that Governor Newsom signed were subject to strong opposition from almost 250 municipalities, signaling the rampant disagreement throughout the state on how to deal with the housing crisis. Criticism of this legislation came mainly from the League of California Cities, voicing the concerns of local governments.
Their objections included the police power in local governments being undermined as well as the local residential planning and land use control authorities. Many are concerned that this type of legislation is a major move in the direction of foregoing single-family zoning in the state.
Senate Bill 9 is the piece of the legislation argued over the most. Also called the HOME Act (Housing Opportunity and More Efficiency), this bill is controversial because it authorizes a property owner to divide a single-family lot into a pair of lots. A maximum of two units may then be placed on each lot to create four units total.