The above map showing that Encinitas meets the SB 50 criteria is by the Urban Displacement Project., UC Berkeley (http://upzoning.berkeley.edu/station_neighborhoods.html)
California State Senate Bill 50, aka The More HOMES Act authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D, San Franciso), would change the way our City and County decide on housing projects, both big and small. The controversial bill has advanced through yet another hurdle in the legislative process, making its chances of becoming state law more likely.
SB 50 is an effort to alleviate the State-wide housing shortage by giving developers incentives to build multi-family housing near public transit and in affluent neighborhoods adjacent to job centers by overriding local zoning regulations. It does this by removing control from local governments and giving it to the State.
In counties over 600,000 people, areas within a half mile of rail & ferry stations will be up-zoned. Job rich areas & 1/4 mile around bus stops will be up-zoned… Statewide, including in small counties, fourplex will be allowed by right. Buildings can’t be demolished for fourplex but can be internally subdivided/remodeled… The legislative process for SB 50 is far from over, but today is a big win for the legislation and for Californians, so many of whom need housing.
Senator Weiner, via Twitter, 4/24/19
One of the new rules would be that property owners can convert their single-family home to a four-plex ‘by right’, or, without local approval.
Another change to Encinitas is building height limits. SB 50 neutralizes them for projects near the train station or major bus stops, allowing for up to 85-foot heights with density bonuses, and keeping parking to a minimum with .5 spots per unit, or ONE parking spot for every TWO apartment units.
Some cities have already formally opposed SB50. Both Carlsbad City Council and Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to oppose the bill.
Although Encinitas has not yet taken a stand, Mayor Blakespear seems to support the spirit of SB 50. In a recent newsletter, she discussed increasing density along the coast and preserving open space inland:
“… Making housing denser in the areas it already exists and near the coast, instead of sprawling into the backcountry. In the big picture, and for climate and habitat protection, this is the right strategy.”Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear
SANDAG, the county-wide agency that decides public transportation issues, also seems to agree. They recently shifted their goals of improved streets and highways (funded by the Transnet Sales Tax approved by voters in 2004) to almost exclusively transit alternatives. Mayor Blakespear, who is also the vice-chair of the SANDAG Board of Directors, celebrated the release of the new direction.
Several groups throughout the state are fighting against the bill. Here is one of many graphics generated to gain public support for the opposition.
Stay tuned for updates as SB 50 moves forward through the Legislature.