clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

California bill would mandate denser, taller housing near transit

New, 19 comments

San Francisco senator and assemblymember push for “transit-rich housing bonus”

The California capitol building. Andre M

A new bill introduced in the California state legislature Wednesday by San Francisco Assemblymember Phil Ting, San Francisco Senator Scott Wiener, and East Bay Senator Nancy Skinner would cede developers a transit-housing bonus for taller denser developments near major transit hubs.

SB 827 would spare new housing developments from certain restrictions if they qualify as “transit-rich housing.” The initial version of the bill defines such housing as “parcels [...] within a a half mile radius of a major transit stop or a quarter mile radius of a high-quality transit corridor.”

California law defines a “major transit stop” as:

A site containing an existing rail transit station, a ferry terminal served by either a bus or rail transit service, or the intersection of two or more major bus routes with a frequency of service interval of 15 minutes or less during the morning and afternoon peak commute periods.

For new housing built near such a hub, the bill lays out a variety of potential shortcuts through the permitting process, including:

The bill would exempt a project [from] maximum controls on residential density or floor area ratio, minimum automobile parking requirements, design standards that restrict the applicant’s ability to construct the maximum number of units consistent with any applicable building code, and maximum height limitations.

Patricia Chang

Via a press release, Sen. Wiener called the bill—and two other housing-related bills introduced today, one of which would mandate that cities keep more strict track of population growth and adjust housing requirements accordingly and another that would make it easier to build housing for farm workers—a necessary tool for speeding housing construction.

“After nearly 50 years of bad housing policy—policy designed to make it incredibly hard and expensive to create housing—we began the long process of righting the ship,” said Sen. Wiener.

The proposed law first goes to the State Senate’s fiscal committee for consideration.