Preservation Zones at Risk? - Page 2

After many revisions to unpopular SB 50, compromise for housing bill may be near
Fridays on the Homefront
Will this be the future look for some of California's single-family neighborhoods?
Fridays on the Homefront

The bill has been rejected by the Los Angeles City Council and San Francisco Board of Supervisors as well as the mayors of Palo Alto, Beverly Hills, and other cities, but supported by mayors of San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, and Stockton. Critics have called it "a handout to greedy developers" and "a demolition derby," while a New York Times editorial this month lauded it as "the most promising proposal" to address what it calls a "desperate" need for more housing in California.

A City of Los Angeles report on the bill declared, "SB 50 may compromise the ability to maintain unique community scale and form, as well as neighborhood features such as yards, trees, adequate off-street parking, sunlight, and privacy."

What these and other interested parties—arguably the whole country—have to consider now is that the bill has undergone extensive tinkering in committee since a similar measure by Wiener failed last year. Revisions approved April 24 included the aforementioned exceptions for less-populated regions as well as fire-prone areas, coastal areas…and historic districts.

Realistically, SB 50 has to gain Senate approval at a May meeting and the full Legislature by mid-September to survive. Gov. Gavin Newsom has not taken a position on it.

The meat of the issue for would-be opponents to the bill is that this much-reviled bill now includes so many varying applications for different combinations of transit region, county, city, and neighborhood. Cities ranging from Los Angeles to Palo Alto, subject to almost complete rezoning under prior versions, now consult with attorneys to digest with discerning palate Sen. Wiener's—um—mixture of ground legislative by-product.