California has finalized a rule that has helped cause its housing crisis


With a stroke of his pen, Governor Gavin Newsom officially ended California’s more than 100-year scourge of solo family zoning.

Family-alone zoning laws make it illegal to build anything other than a residential home on a specific piece of land. Now (with minor exceptions such as fire -prone areas) it is also legal to make duplexes.

That change is about a suite of Newsom’s house-building bill was signed into law this afternoon, continues a year -long trend in California pushing forward as one of several states trying to resolve the housing supply crisis.

The inquiries remain unsigned on the governor’s desk, perhaps until Newsom has a chance. face the memorable challenge that threatens his seat. California’s housing affordability crisis and resulting homelessness crisis is an important part of building frustration in a state where Zillow states the average home is valued at $ 708,936 (more than double the typical U.S. home value of $ 303,288).

While the renovation of single family zoning sounds revolutionary, the fees are actually a gentle attempt to increase in number: legalize duplexes and quadplexes and speed up the construction of small apartment buildings that provides up to 10 houses. This does not mean that the law prohibits a family or can no longer be built, but it does give homeowners the option to make duplexes or sell their homes to people who want it. Prior to today, it was illegal for a single person to move their home to a duplex in multiple zoning for single-family zoning. Not anymore.

This is not a panacea for home improvement. The Terner Center at UC Berkeley for Home Improvement found that SB 9 (the bill that legalizes duplexes) “will slowly accelerate the addition of new units in relation to the status quo.” Other laws restricting the construction of new and cheaper homes are still in effect-in particular, local laws with land-based laws will continue to be enacted. that it is illegal to make duplexes the houses alone if the small lot is too small to be subdivided while still complying with size regulations.

However, the Terner Center found that “approximately 700,000 new, marketable dwellings will be operational under SB 9.” Too many already! But also because so many people don’t want to sell their homes or divide them among themselves, “only a fraction of that potential can be developed, especially in the short term. … As such, while important, the new units not unlocked in SB 9 will represent a fraction of the total supply needed to fully provide the state’s housing shortage. ”

The main further development in housing construction has come in the form of legalization of ADU (accessory housing) for the construction of backyard apartments or conversion of garages to houses. it added more than 20,000 new homes to the state’s housing supply.

This is still the beginning of a long-running fight to make it easier to build affordable housing in California, but this time it announces a move. Ending zoning alone with the family has long been considered impossible. California pushes the possibilities to border on operating states where localities have failed in relation to producing adequate housing for their populations. And they’re not the first to pursue a policy in this vein: In 2019, Oregon passed a bill stipulates that any town with more than 10,000 people allows duplexes in areas zoned for family residence only. It effectively prohibits zoning to a single family in the state.

This moment was hard to win by the pro-puytanan legislators and advocates who helped elect them, and it also marked a growing shift in who is responsible for fixing the housing crisis. Housing is still seen as a local issue, but as regional and even national impacts begin to be recognized by the majority, states are feeling the pressure to act.

“The end of the free, one -unit zoning in California is a historic moment – we are taking a huge step in making California a more affordable, equitable, and inclusive state,” he said. as Brian Hanlon, CEO of California YIMBY, in a statement.



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