Housing Crisis

‘It's a Tradeoff': New Housing Bills Meant to Solve Housing Crisis Will Allow for Increased Density in Single-Family Lots

Both SB 9 and SB 10 are part of a package of bills meant to curb the housing crisis in California; SB 9 was authored by local State Senator Toni Atkins

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Twenty years ago Gary street near Moctezuma Road road in the College Area was a neighborhood filled with families, at least that’s how Ryan White remembers it when he moved in.

"There was a lot of families in the neighborhood, some elderly [people]," said White. "Now that the elderly have passed or move moved away it became more rentals.”

One day one of those rental properties became two.

"Some of these property owners are buying all these homes, putting these accessory dwelling units, "mini dorms," and they're capitalizing on this,” said White.

White says, property owners, build these second units on their property and then rent them out to multiple students at a time.

Now adding to his concerns are two recently passed state laws that would make it easier for these property owners to expand housing on their property.

Under SB 9, a property owner could split their lot into two separate lots and build a two-residence duplex home on each lot. In place of the one original home, there could now be four.

SB 10 allows a single-family property located in a high-traffic area or near public transit to be re-zoned without an environmental review. The owner could tear down an existing home and replace it with a small apartment building of up to 10 units in its place.

"I just think that it's going to increase density," said White.

Alan Gin, professor of economics at UCSD, adheres to White’s concerns over increased density but he says this is the best way we can solve the housing crisis California is currently undergoing.

According to Zumper, a home rental site, in San Diego, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $2,050. The site estimates this is a 14% increase from last year.

"One problem is on the supply side and one problem is that there's not a lot of land [to build] out there," said Gin. "This [the new legislation] helps to deal with that situation by allowing more units on land.”

A recent study by the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California Berkley found that SB 9 would most likely lead to 714,000 new homes across the state over the next several years.

"So it's a trade-off," said Gin. "If you want more affordable housing you're going to have to accept in some that some of that density.”

Both SB 9 and SB 10 are part of a package of bills meant to curb the housing crisis in California. SB 9 was authored by local State Senator Toni Atkins.

"The years-long housing crisis has had a deep impact on our state and has contributed to overcrowding, long commutes, and undue disadvantage for lower-income families," said Atkins. "The intent of SB 9 is clear – to streamline the process so homeowners can create a duplex or subdivide their existing property up to four units – and aims to set California’s housing availability on a path of inclusion so that more families can attain the California dream."

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