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Senator behind California’s most ambitious housing bill debriefs on its defeat in committee

State Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) speaks to an attendee at an Abundant Housing LA event.
State Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) speaks to an attendee at an Abundant Housing LA event.
Josie Huang/KPCC

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Despite gaining national attention that included a front-page write-up on the New York Times, a housing bill in the California legislature pushing for more dense residential developments around public transit hubs died on Tuesday when it was unable to make it out of committee.

The Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing shot down SB 827, which AirTalk debated after it was introduced, on the grounds that its approach was too broad and that it treated small cities the same way it treated larger ones like San Francisco. The bill would have removed restrictions on constructing multi-story residential buildings in areas zoned for things like single-family homes within a half-mile of public transit stops.

San Francisco Senator Scott Wiener, who authored the bill, had hoped providing more units near rail stops would address two of California’s biggest issues – affordable housing and reducing carbon emissions – by encouraging residents to use public transit instead of driving. But the bill ran into opposition from a number of interest groups and elected city officials in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco, who argued it would take neighborhood development control away from local governments.

Senator Wiener says he plans to bring the bill back in a future legislative session. But what might that bill look like? And how will Senator Wiener address the concerns that his colleagues expressed? What can we expect the state to do about addressing the affordable housing crisis in the meantime?


With guest host Libby Denkmann


Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), author of SB 827; California State Senator representing Senate District 11, which includes all of the city and county of San Francisco, Broadmoor, Colma, Daly City, and part of South San Francisco; he tweets @Scott_Wiener

Liam Dillon, reporter covering state politics and policy for the Los Angeles Times; his beat includes housing and he has been following SB 827; he tweets @dillonliam