News & Politics

California Bans Single-Family Zoning in Most Neighborhoods Statewide

(AP Photo/John Locher)

Mere days after surviving a vigorous and expensive recall attempt, California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom wasted no time quietly signing three authoritarian housing bills into law.

The trio of bills is meant to boost housing production and supply while also fighting the housing crisis in the state. These bills were sponsored and pushed solely by Democrats in both the State Assembly and the State Senate. And not surprisingly, as CalMatters reports, they include “two of the year’s most controversial proposals.”

First, there’s SB-8, which is an extension and clarification of the Housing Crisis Act of 2019. This bill prohibits local housing agencies and developers from changing the rules during the application process and streamlines the building permitting process. The bill also limits local governments’ abilities to reduce density standards on lots already zoned or planned for residential use.

Next, there’s SB-9, which allows most California homeowners to build two houses or one duplex on lots where only one single-family house was formerly permitted. The bill also permits some homeowners to split a single-family lot to build two additional units on the other half. Units have to total 1,200 square feet and be outside fire zones or historic districts. Owners must occupy the main homes for a minimum of three years after splitting lots.

Third, there’s SB-10, which allows local governments to rezone single-family lots to allow buildings with as many as 10 units as long as they are in urban areas and near public transit hubs. Like SB-9, this bill also allows homeowners and developers to skip lengthy review processes, with each project subject to final approval by the local government.

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Like most tyrannical leftists policies, these bills were pushed under the feel-good guise of solving the affordable housing shortage and lowering the homeless numbers. True, these bills purport to allow state and local governments easier access to resources in order to provide more housing more quickly and with greater reach and coordination, but when has more tyrannical government regulation ever yielded better results? And like most tyrannical leftist policies, these are riddled with unintended consequences.

The bills set a dangerous precedent for state government usurpation of local control. If local municipalities cannot decide for themselves how they want to zone and for what type of housing they want to zone, what’s next? Will the state government tell us where we can live or who will live in our homes with our families?

These bills change not only the physical landscape of entire neighborhoods but also their atmosphere or vibe, with little to no thought for property owners who bought earlier when local zoning laws were in place. What about property values? What about overcrowding? What about parking? What about doubling and even quadrupling water and utility demands in a state that is already massively straining its resources?

Apparently, these things don’t matter to our leftist overlords, who decree from on high that we the unwashed masses must live crammed on top of each other for “the greater good” even as they, of course, have no intention of doing so themselves.

Related: As California Goes, So Goes the Nation. But Why Should We Put Up With It?

You may not live in California, but remember, as California goes, so goes the nation whether we want it to or not. Every inch we slide toward tyranny and global standards here in the once-golden state is a precursor for the other 49.

The new zoning laws take effect statewide on January 1, 2022, and I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I am at the possibility of having at least two new units on either side of my SoCal house’s backyard filled with people who otherwise wouldn’t live in my community. I mean, we only worked hard and sacrificed to live here, so why shouldn’t government bureaucrats in Sacramento usurp our local laws to tell us how we should be permitted to use our property?

I look forward to seeing how many units for the homeless Gavin Newsom and Nancy Pelosi put on their properties. And come to think of it, Kamala Harris probably has an empty California house or two to offer them as well, you know, since “we’re all in this together” for “the greater good” and all.