California's New Housing Laws: Here's What to Know

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California Today

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed 2 bills aimed astatine easing the state’s lodging crisis.

Soumya Karlamangla

Sept. 20, 2021, 9:02 a.m. ET


Homes and homes nether  operation  successful  Antioch past  year.
Credit...Jason Henry for The New York Times

No substance wherever you live, you’re astir apt acquainted with the exorbitant outgo of lodging successful California.

The state’s median location terms has crept supra $800,000, much than treble what it is nationwide. Among the 50 biggest cities successful the country, we’re location to the apical 4 astir hard places to spend a mortgage. And fractional of each Americans experiencing homelessness unrecorded successful California.

Our lodging situation has a seemingly elemental solution, according to the laws of proviso and demand: Build much housing.

But for decades, absorption from suburban homeowners has stalled improvement arsenic the occupation has lone gotten worse.

On Thursday, the authorities took a measurement toward creating higher-density neighborhoods arsenic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed 2 high-profile lodging bills.

Though the bills, Senate Bills 9 and 10, endured aggravated absorption successful caller months, neither is each that revolutionary, said Conor Dougherty, a newsman for The New York Times who writes astir economics successful California.

But the bundle of lodging reforms passed successful California implicit the past 4 years, including these 2 latest measures, “is astir apt the biggest alteration successful lodging successful 50 years oregon more,” Conor told me.

S.B. 9 allows duplexes to beryllium built successful astir neighborhoods crossed the state, including places wherever apartments person agelong been banned. S.B. 10 reduces biology rules connected multifamily lodging and makes it easier for cities to adhd high-density development.

The erstwhile has been the much arguable proposal, spurring angry absorption from homeowners and section authorities groups who person called it “the opening of the extremity of homeownership successful California.”

The classical California suburb — rows of houses, each with their ain gait and obstruction — is mostly a merchandise of thing called single-family zoning, a regularisation that dictates that determination tin beryllium lone 1 location per parcel of land. These laws prohibit, say, gathering a high-rise successful a residential cul-de-sac.

S.B. 9 fundamentally ends single-family zoning, but with a humble shift: Under the bill, spot owners tin physique up to 3 further units connected their land, allowing single-family homes to beryllium transformed into arsenic galore arsenic 4 units.

A caller analysis by the Terner Center for Housing Innovation astatine University of California, Berkeley, recovered that S.B. 9 would astir apt pb to 714,000 caller homes crossed the authorities implicit the adjacent respective years.

Though symbolically significant, S.B. 9 whitethorn not really beryllium arsenic impactful arsenic changes to lodging argumentation that person already been enacted, Conor told me.

State lawmakers person been passing galore lodging reforms implicit the past 4 years successful an effort to boost lodging production. (Gov. Jerry Brown signed 15 lodging bills successful 2017, and Newsom signed 18 successful 2019.)

Perhaps astir significantly, California successful 2017 relaxed laws to marque it easier for homeowners to person and rent retired accessory dwelling units, the method word for backyard homes — deliberation “granny flats” oregon “in-law apartments.” Those rules person been further loosened since.

So adjacent earlier S.B. 9 appeared connected the scene, homeowners successful California were allowed to person 2 units connected a single-family batch — a main location and a abstracted guesthouse.

As these backyard dwellings proceed to pop up, “people are going to kick that S.B. 9 is ruining their neighborhoods, erstwhile successful information they are really unhappy astir laws that passed semi-quietly respective years ago,” Conor told me.

For more:


Credit...Patrick T. Fallon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

For days, a wildfire successful Central California has been threatening groves of past sequoias, immoderate of the oldest trees successful the world. Firefighters person adjacent swaddled trees successful Sequoia National Park successful aluminum wrapper to support them from the blaze.

As of Sunday evening, flames had reached aggregate groves containing trees older than 2,000 years old, reports The Associated Press. General Sherman, the world’s largest histrion by volume, was believed to inactive beryllium safe.


Credit...Jim Wilson/The New York Times
  • Newsom’s family: Gov. Gavin Newsom is “following each Covid protocols” aft 2 of his 4 children tested affirmative for the coronavirus.

  • Emmys: The 73rd yearly Emmy Awards were held connected Sunday nighttime successful Los Angeles. See the complete database of winners.

  • Antibody testing: An upscale wellness attraction signifier successful Beverly Hills has a drive-through wherever clients tin get their Covid-19 antibody levels tested. Both the morals and the efficacy of these tests are up for debate.

  • New Pac-12 deal: The Pac-12 Conference volition commencement playing hoops games astatine the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s historically Black colleges, the leagues announced Monday.

  • Rolling blackouts: Thirteen counties crossed Northern and Central California are expected to acquisition powerfulness outages connected Monday, reports SFist.

  • Republicans aft recall: California Republicans thought they had recovered a rallying outcry successful the callback effort against Newsom. But instead, the run exposed clashes betwixt the party’s constitution and grass-roots base, reports The Los Angeles Times.

  • Magic mushrooms: An inaugural to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms was approved for signature gathering, moving the connection person to legislative approval, NBC News reports.

  • Marines honored: Family and friends of 3 marines killed successful Afghanistan past period said their last goodbyes connected Saturday with memorial services successful Riverside, Palm Springs and Roseville, reports The Associated Press.



  • Covid outbreak: A coronavirus outbreak astatine a jailhouse successful Monterey County has caused cases among inmates to quadruple successful less than a week.


  • Red emblem warning: Officials warned of accrued occurrence information successful overmuch of Northern California from precocious Sunday nighttime done Monday evening. The affected country includes portions of the Sacramento Valley and immoderate of the Bay Area, The Sacramento Bee reports.

  • London Breed: Mayor London Breed of San Francisco has travel nether occurrence aft being photographed maskless astatine an indoor jazz club, reports CBS SF Bay Area.

  • Theranos trial: A “concerned citizen” astatine the proceedings of the Theranos C.E.O. Elizabeth Holmes turned retired to really beryllium the begetter of Holmes’s partner, reports NPR.

  • Oakland officers disciplined: Nine Oakland constabulary officers who engaged with a racist and sexist Instagram relationship person been fixed unpaid suspensions, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

  • Illegal cookware farm: The authorities investigating a antheral recovered dormant with a gunshot coiled uncovered an amerciable cookware workplace adjacent the Forbestown country successful Butte County, The Associated Press reports.


Credit...Lisa Corson for The New York Times

Several Los Angeles restaurants person been recently added to the Michelin Guide California, my colleagues report. More details connected Michelin Guide’s website.

Today’s question extremity comes from Shelle McKenzie, a scholar who recommends Avila Beach connected the Central Coast. I’m seconding this proposition — it’s 1 of my favourite places to halt portion driving betwixt Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

Tell america astir wherever to sojourn successful California. Email your suggestions to We’ll beryllium sharing much successful upcoming editions of the newsletter.

Between the wildfires, pandemic and drought, this summertime successful California hasn’t been easy.

So with Sept. 22 marking the extremity of the season, I’m asking for you to stock what has helped you marque it through. Maybe it was a abrogation you had postponed, a trashy TV show, a delicious repast you cooked oregon your nightly stroll.

Email maine your favourite summertime memory astatine along with your sanction and the metropolis wherever you live. If you privation to see a picture, delight marque definite it’s oriented horizontally.


Credit...Chanell Stone for The New York Times

This week, a schoolhouse successful the Bay Area volition beryllium renamed aft the oldest nationalist parkland ranger successful the country.

Betty Reid Soskin is simply a 99-year-old ranger astatine Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park successful Richmond, reports Bay City News.

On Wednesday, Juan Crespi Middle School successful Contra Costa County volition beryllium renamed Betty Reid Soskin Middle School.

Also connected that day, Soskin volition crook 100.

Thanks for reading. I’ll beryllium backmost tomorrow. — Soumya

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Big, heavy portion (5 letters).

Briana Scalia and Mariel Wamsley contributed to California Today. You tin scope the squad astatine

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