Friday, January 28, 2022

Faced with housing crisis, Los Angeles voters support duplexes in single-family neighborhoods

A majority of Los Angeles County voters support two new state housing laws, including one that substantially changes traditional single-family zoning, according to a new poll.

The survey, conducted by the Los Angeles Institute of Business Council in collaboration with the Los Angeles Times, is one of the first tests of public reaction to new laws that could fundamentally change California’s development landscape.

The laws, Senate Bills 9 and 10, enter into force on January 1.

They were the culmination of years of debate in Sacramento over local zoning restrictions that could slow housing growth. The scuffle sparked strong opposition among homeowner groups, especially in Los Angeles, where opponents said the proposals threatened to destroy neighborhoods.

So far, as the poll shows, the majority of voters do not take this terrible point of view.

Districtwide, 55% of voters support Senate Bill 9, which allows property owners to build duplexes and, in some cases, four-story homes in most of the state’s neighborhoods. On the contrary, 27% were against the law, and 18% found it difficult to answer.

Senate Bill No. 10, which allows local city councils to accelerate the construction of residential complexes to 10 units near transport hubs and urban developments, including in private housing zones, is receiving stronger support. He is supported by 68% of constituency voters, 13% – against, 19% – found it difficult to answer.

The poll showed a sharp difference between homeowners and renters, especially on SB 9. Tenants supported the law by more than 3: 1, while homeowners were divided, the survey found.

Nearly two-thirds of all residential homes in the state are single-family homes, and up to three-quarters of the state’s development land is currently zoned for single-family homes only, according to a study by the University of California Berkeley Turner Center. Housing innovation.

Bungalows and backyards have also long been considered the key to the “California dream” of humble middle-class living.

But these homes continue to become less and less affordable. The statewide median sale price for an existing single-family home in October was $ 798,440, according to California Assn. realtors, an increase of more than 12% over last year. In Los Angeles County, the median selling price of $ 848,970 was nearly 14% higher than last year.

Proponents of the new laws argue that they can help lower prices by stimulating housing in areas that have been closed to new growth.

“The housing affordability crisis is undermining the California dream of statewide families and threatening our long-term growth and prosperity,” Governor Gavin Newsom said when the laws were signed in September.

“Making a meaningful impact on this crisis will take bold investment, close collaboration … and political courage from our leaders and communities to do the right thing and build housing for all.”

Tenant support for SB 9 likely stems from the hope that the law could make home ownership easier, said Mark Dikamillo, survey director at the University of California, Berkeley Institute for Public Research, who advised The Times in the new survey.

“I think a lot of tenants are trying to break into home ownership,” DiCamillo said. “They see this as a potential way to expand the supply and bring smaller units to market.”

DiCamillo said he was surprised that even scores of homeowners supported the new law, given its potential to destroy residential neighborhoods where individual houses live.

The results, including among homeowners, “should be encouraging for the advocates of the new law,” he said.

The building material was delivered to the Korea Quarter construction site on October 8, 2020.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times) #

According to the poll, 59% of Los Angeles County Democrats supported SB 9. The poll showed that Republicans were narrowly divided, with slightly outnumbered opponents, making them the only significant demographic against the law.

However, during the legislative debate, the controversy over the new law was not purely partisan.

The Los Angeles City Council, which has 14 out of 15 Democrats, has overwhelmingly opposed the two laws, with West Los Angeles City Councilor Paul Koretz, a Democrat, saying they will “kill communities and the environment.” Some advocates in South Los Angeles opposed the new laws on the grounds that they would promote gentrification.

Some Republicans in the state legislature have supported the two laws, arguing that they expand homeowners’ ownership rights.

Some cities in the state are already planning policies to mitigate the impact of SB 9. Some, for example, are limiting the size and height of new developments, installing parking spaces, and requiring additional housing units to be rented only to those with moderate to moderate incomes. low income.

Legal problems with such measures are likely.

It is also possible that the new laws will not matter much.

The laws do not prohibit the construction of new single-family homes. SB 9 allows property owners to build duplexes – or four-story homes – on their land if they wish, but does not require anyone to do so. Any changes made by SB 10 will first require City Council approval.

In addition, other zoning changes in recent years have already made it easier for property owners to build small resale homes – known as grandma’s apartments, casitas, or additional living units – on plots zoned for private homes.

The poll was conducted from October 27 to November 3 among 906 registered voters in Los Angeles County. The sample was divided into questions for SB 9 and SB 10, and approximately half of the voters asked questions about each bill. The margin of error for these results is 4.5 percentage points in either direction.

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