San Gabriel Valley Cities Urge Veto On Bill To Change Single-Family Zoning

Happy couple and building contractor talking about housing plan at construction site.

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PASADENA (CNS) - The San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments announced today that the mayors of 27 cities in the San Gabriel Valley signed a letter urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to veto a bill approved by the state legislature that would allow lots zones for single-family homes to have up to four units.

Senate Bill 9 was introduced by Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and would allow the lots to subdivide into two, with each able to have a two-unit building, essentially allowing two duplexes on properties initially allowed to have single-family homes. Atkins told the New York Times that it is a “gentle density increase that respects the character of the neighborhoods,'' but local governments in Los Angeles County, including the L.A. City Council, oppose the bill.

“Senate Bill 9 will drive real estate speculators to purchase homes in order to split parcels, build duplexes on each lot and secure rental income streams -- at the expense of the quality of life of our residents. Quadrupling the number of units on a parcel will deprive children of backyards where they can play, devastate our urban tree canopy and reduce privacy, light and air for residents,'' said Monrovia Councilwoman Becky Shevlin, who also serves as president of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.

SGVCG said it advocates for addressing the affordable housing shortage by rezoning vacant and nonviable commercial properties and providing incentives to affordable housing developers to build on that land.

SGVCG's letter in opposition to the bill was signed by the cities of Alhambra, Arcadia, Azusa, Baldwin Park, Bradbury, Claremont, Diamond Bar, Duarte, Glendora, Industry, Irwindale, La Canada Flintridge, La Verne, Monrovia, Montebello, Monterey Park, Pasadena, Pomona, San Dimas, San Gabriel, San Marino, Sierra Madre, South El Monte, South Pasadena, Temple City, Walnut and West Covina.

While some housing advocates opposed the bill for not including requirements for affordable housing, others, like the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley, support the bill for its potential to increase the number of homes in California. The Terner Center's analysis of the bill found that it could create 714,000 new units statewide, including 127,000 in Los Angeles.

Housing Is A Human Right, which is a division of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, came out in opposition to the bill, saying it would increase gentrification and benefit real estate interests.

“We know that (the bill) will cause developers to target our low-income Black and brown communities ... there is no requirement for affordable housing or homeless housing, and given that we have 161,000 people who are homeless in the state of California, over 60,000 in the county and over 40,000 in the city, it is absolutely unconscionable to have a housing production bill that would not provide for our homeless community or for people who desperately need affordable housing,'' Susie Shannon, policy director for Housing Is A Human Right, said in a call into the Los Angeles City Council.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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