A law is working its way through the California that would required towns to allow higher density housing near to major mass transit projects.
The mayor of Berkeley is calling it, “A declaration of war against our neighborhoods.”
No, it isn’t. It’s a common sense requirement to ensure that expensive mass transit projects benefit more than a few:
New proposed legislation, introduced by Sen. Scott Wiener and co-authored by Sen. Nancy Skinner, that would require California cities to allow denser, taller housing developments near transit hubs and bus lines, has ignited controversy in Berkeley and nationally.
With some limitations, SB 827 would eliminate restrictions on the number of houses that can be built within a half-mile of BART and within a quarter-mile of major bus routes, including Muni and AC Transit. It would also block cities from mandating parking requirements.
Skinner said the bill would help supply much-needed housing in Berkeley and the state.
“In the Bay Area alone, we’ve added thousands more jobs than we have housing units,” she said. “More housing is essential to reduce the pressure that lack of supply is causing in all our communities. And there’s no more logical place for housing than near transit.”
But the bill has drawn strong opposition from many who believe it would deprive cities of their rights to control their own zoning and could also lead to unwanted density. In fact Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín characterizes the bill as “a declaration of war against our neighborhoods.”
Here is the deal, your honor: If you want transit in your neighborhoods, then your neighborhoods have to be transit friendly, and the first 3 requirements of transit friendly neighborhoods are density, density, and density.