Wiener: State will never reach Newsom’s housing goals without taking power from cities

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Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom may have set an astronomical goal for allowing construction of 3.5 million new housing units in California by 2025, but a key Democratic state senator says it will never happen unless the state pries away some local control over housing decisions.

In this week’s episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” San Francisco Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener says: “To build three and a half million homes, which is our housing deficit, you’re never going to do that without zoning reform.”

Last week Wiener re-introduced a controversial housing bill that would force cities to allow taller, denser apartment buildings around public transit—a policy known as upzoning. SB 50, the so-called “More HOMES” Act, makes some important tweaks to its unsuccessful predecessor SB 827, including more robust protections for tenants against eviction and displacement. But the audacious ambition of SB 827—to strip cities of their power to decide what types of houses can be built in what neighborhoods—remains intact.

In the interview, Wiener acknowledges to hosts Matt Levin of CALmatters and Liam Dillon of the Los Angeles Times that he has not received a guarantee of support from Newsom.

The episode explores the new bill’s prospects for becoming law, and whether it’s the right fix for California’s housing woes.

For the full podcast archive, click here. 

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