Senate Bill 6, by Senators Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) and Jim Beall (D-San Jose), would create a statewide database of public land for housing construction.
Supporters of the bill are in favor because it would streamline how land for potential new developments can be found, and, according to the Embarcadero Institute, it “expressly provides for public access and transparency.” Housing organizations such as the California Apartment Association are also in favor as it is “Helpful in matching developers to land for affordable housing.”
Opponents fear that the passing of such a bill will make it easier for developers to build in areas where high-density housing was not planned for, and that penalizing local city planning for restricting housing could be a dangerous precedent. Numerous neighborhood groups in Southern California have come out in opposition, with many advocacy firms and lobbying firms, such as Public Policy Advocates, recommend a ‘watch’ on SB 6.
SB 6 is one of three bills introduced by the Senators McGuire and Beall to address a “strategic approach to infill, workforce affordable housing through California without taking a one-size-fits-all approach.” The other bills include SB 4, which proposes increased multi-family housing near transit and job centers, and SB 5, which would give funds to local governments for ‘community revitalization plans. Additionally, under SB 5, fifty percent of all funds given would go to building affordable housing.
All three were passed in hearing in April.
The advancement of SB 4, SB 5, and SB 6 also comes after a more sweeping housing bill by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), SB 50, failed to be ratified in May. SB 50 would have followed the city plans of cities such as Pasadena and cluster high-density housing near transit and job centers, as well as zone for higher density in many present single family areas. While SB 50 is on hiatus until next year, similar bills featuring parts of the bill were brought forth in June by Senator Wiener.
With a focus on affordable housing, a streamlined system for developers, and support from Assemblymen and Senators from areas hit hardest by the housing crisis, such as bill co-sponsor Senator Beall from Silicon Valley, those voting on it are trying to quell the housing crisis by giving developers more leeway. The bill itself mentions affordable housing and community growth as its primary reasons for wanting a more streamlined development process.
With no ‘nay’ votes to date going up the State Senate and Assembly, SB 6, as well as SB 4 and SB 5, look likely that they will be passed. However, considering that SB 50 had a similar record in votes, it’s not yet a guarantee.