A closely watched proposal that would allow apartment buildings to be built near public transportation hubs and job centers throughout California — regardless of local zoning rules — cleared its first hurdle late Tuesday afternoon. Senate Bill 50 marks the second attempt by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, to boost the state’s scarce housing supply by loosening strict zoning rules and relaxing off-street parking requirements near bus stops and train stations. The proposal also applies to “jobs-rich” areas, including broad swaths of the Bay Area, even if they don’t have an extensive public transportation network. It received a 9-1 vote from Senate Housing Committee, which Wiener heads. The bill is the latest example of a tug-of-war between a handful of Sacramento lawmakers and local governments over housing development and parking requirements. As the state grapples with a chronic housing shortage and affordability crisis, Wiener and others have argued the state must step in to allow more housing to be built near jobs and public transportation — “legalizing apartment buildings,” as the senator likes to call it. “This housing shortage, which is self-inflicted in many ways, has real-life consequences for people,” Wiener said Tuesday. “It pushes people into poverty and… Read full this story
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