For the third year in a row, California State Senator Scott Wiener will attempt to pass sweeping legislation to ease the development of multifamily housing near job centers and transit stations.


SB 50, which was controversially shelved in the Senate Appropriations Committee last year without a receiving a vote, would permit the construction of four- and five-story apartment buildings near transit corridors and job centers, even if local zoning rules restrict such developments.

In a press conference held yesterday, Wiener announced several amendments to the legislation, including a new provision that creates a two-year window in which all California jurisdictions would have the opportunity to develop individualized housing plans that accommodate new growth.

Sensitive communities - meaning those at risk of displacement - would be provided a longer five-year window in which to develop plans.

“These new amendments recognize that cities should have some flexibility in how they implement SB 50’s goals,” said Wiener in a news release. “We’ve spent enormous time and energy speaking with and receiving feedback from a broad array of stakeholders, including local governments. We’ve heard loud and clear that cities want the flexibility to implement this kind of legislation in a way that works best for them.”


Wiener's latest amendments to SB 50 attempt to address opposition from local elected officials who have argued that cities and counties are better able to plan for their housing needs than the state.

The Los Angeles City Council voted 12-0 to oppose SB 50 last year, though Mayor Eric Garcetti returned the resolution unsigned, never taking a formal position on the bill.

While Los Angeles officials have yet to officially weigh on Wiener's revised legislation, other local elected officials have already voiced their support.  Wiener has announced endorsements from both Culver City Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells and Carson Mayor Albert Robles, who recently entered the race for an open seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Other organizations continue to express reservations about SB 50.

"For over a year, we've joined other advocates in an effort to advance a version of SB 50 that we could support," said the Alliance for Community Transit (ACT-LA) via Twitter.  "Unfortunately the newest draft doesn't address our key concerns. Among other issues, there aren't adequate affordability requirements."

ACT-LA previously recommended increasing the affordability requirements of SB 50 to be in line with those of Los Angeles' Transit Oriented Communities guidelines, and also pushed for greater nuance in the standards for determining sensitive communities.

SB 50 is slated for a vote before the full State Senate before the end of January.