Major California Housing Bill Dies In First Committee Hearing

State Capitol Building, Sacramento, California.

California, liberal as it may be, is ground zero for activist NIMBYites. They have made it difficult or impossible for communities to make progress in the face of both a state homelessness crisis and, more particularly, a rapidly growing affordable housing crisis.

Following the lead of states such as Massachusetts and Connecticut, California has been attempting to implement state planning laws which can overrule city planning and require the implementation of certain meaningful affordable housing initiatives.

In Bill 827, California legislators tried to sell the state on a vision of relaxed density requirements near transit hubs, allowing developers to build higher.  The extra density was meant to provide both affordable housing as well as essential transit for those who could no longer afford to live closer to downtown jobs.

Proponents of the bill found themselves fighting a rearguard reaction from NIMBYites. The NIMBY opposition was joined by those who claimed to be pro-affordable housing and who saw the scheme as a high density sellout profiting only developers. Other affordable housing proponents saw the poor being lured into poorly serviced far suburbs, allowing inner cities to be gentrified.

After some considerable watering down, the bill finally reached the floor of the legislature in the face of stiff resistance. Bill 827 did not come close to passing.

Read more in news: Major California housing bill dies in first committee hearing

and listen in at capital public radio: The Takeaway From The Sudden Death Of California’s Most Controversial Housing Bill In Years

For an in-depth analysis of the forces at work which created, then defeated Bill 827, read more in Slate:  Why Was California’s Radical Housing Bill so Unpopular?


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