Soviet-style central planning is coming closer in California.
On April 2, 2019, a bill to destroy the ability of local government to regulate land use passed the California State Senate’s Housing Committee by a vote of 9 to 1.
The bill, Senate Bill 50 (SB 50), would compel local communities to construct high-density housing within one-quarter mile of a frequently-used bus stop or one-half mile of a train station.
The sponsor of the bill is State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco).
Wiener’s bill would allow developers to construct high-rise, high-density housing in transit-rich areas.
Under the bill, local communities would lose the power to determine building heights, housing density (houses per acre), and zoning.
In 2018, Senate Bill 827, legislation similar to the current SB 50, died in committee.
In addition to SB 50, there are, in the state legislature, about two dozen other bills to regulate housing and land use.
At a symposium on Mar. 28, 2019, in Orinda, California, a city 15 miles east of San Francisco, Dennis Richards a member of the San Francisco Planning Commission, said that Sen. Wiener’s SB 50 is a, “Top down, autocratic Soviet-style plan.” Richards said he was speaking for himself and was not representing any other entity.
SB 50, like many other land-use bills that have passed the state legislature in recent years, mandates, for low-income people, the construction of additional housing.
SB 50, if enacted, could affect the quality of a local community’s public schools. The bill could also have an impact on the rate of crime, the ability of a fire department to extinguish flames in a burning structure (especially a high-rise structure), the availability of open space, the amount of traffic congestion, and the availably of parking.
SB 50 and similar legislation in Sacramento underscores what President Ronald Reagan said in his first inaugural address as president (on January 20, 1981).
Reagan said, “. . . government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”