New “Missing Middle” Housing Bill Introduced

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The Bay Area Council’s 2020 housing priority is to pass legislation designed to boost housing production. While the state has made some strides in tenant protections and the preservation of affordable homes last year, now is the time to focus on housing production at all levels of housing affordability. For this reason, the Council is delighted that Senator Wiener (San Francisco) announced a new production bill, SB 902, focused on “missing middle” housing.  Borrowing elements from his previous legislation (SB 50), which aimed to upzone single-family neighborhoods to mid-rise heights when located in transit- and jobs-rich areas, the 2020 legislation maintains the provision of by-right approvals for housing up to fourplex.

Larger cities that zone up to 10 units in single family zoning neighborhoods will receive an exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), under the legislation. Missing middle housing is a critical strategy to address our housing crisis. These housing types tend to be “affordable by design” with their middle-sized density and have been missing in new developments since the 1960s and ‘70s. We are also pleased that, according to their Blueprint for More Housing, the League of California Cities agree that communities should “allow up to fourplexes in single-family zones.” We look forward to supporting this important bill and we’ll be sure to follow up with more information on ways you can support more housing. To engage in the Council’s housing work, please contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.

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