State Sen. Scott Wiener is stepping up again to address California’s massive housing crisis, this week introducing legislation that would require higher-density housing near transit-rich areas. The bill, SB 50, is similar to legislation Wiener introduced last year that brought a firestorm of opposition from cities and others concerned it went too far in dictating local zoning and land use decisions. The Bay Area Council served on a diverse stakeholder group to provide input on the new legislation, which includes a variety of provisions that address concerns related to local control, gentrification and displacement. And, we remain closely engaged with YIMBY (yes in my backyard) groups that are sponsoring the bill.

SB 50, the Housing, Opportunity, Mobility, Equity and Stability Act (HOMES), is consistent with the Council’s work to increase housing near rail, bus and other high-volume transit systems. A recent California Air Resources Board report found that increasing commute distances—and the tailpipe emissions they produce—caused by a lack of housing threaten the state’s ability to reach its aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals. The findings were similar to a 2015 report—Another Inconvenient Truth—by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. To engage in the Council’s housing policy work, please contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.