Earlier this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two new state laws that could significantly change the way housing is built in the Bay Area.
Senate Bill 9 allows for the development of up to four dwelling units on single-family lots throughout the state of California. Senate Bill 10 allows local governments to streamline multi-family housing projects of up to 10 units near transit and urban cores.
In San Jose, the City Council is currently considering a proposal similar to the state bills called Opportunity Housing, a proposal which Councilmember Matt Mahan rejected in August in favor of an alternate plan that proposes developing denser housing around the city’s transit-centered urban villages.
Opportunity Housing, similar to SB 9, would allow developers to build up to four homes on a single-family lot. The City Council is expected to consider exploring Opportunity Housing in October along with the long-term implications that the new state bills will have on the future of San Jose housing.
Those in favor of Opportunity Housing and the new state bills support being able to build more densely in San Jose, which they believe will create more affordable housing and address decades of racial segregation caused by single-family zoning, according to reports.
Opponents of the new bills fear that they will have a much greater negative impact on lower-income residents in East San Jose. They claim that the bills will lead to rampant and unpredictable development in the City’s residential neighborhoods that could lead to a list of other issues such as loss of parking, increased taxes, added strains on utilities that weren’t designed for use by multiple families, increased traffic.