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Housing Crisis: Newsom Signs Measures To Allow For More Duplexes, Apartments Near Transit

SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – Two days after surviving the recall effort against him, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed several bills aimed at addressing the housing shortage and affordability crisis, one of the state's most pressing issues.

"Making a meaningful impact on this crisis will take bold investments, strong collaboration across sectors and political courage from our leaders and communities to do the right thing and build housing for all," Newsom said in a statement.

Among the measures Newsom signed into law include Senate Bill 9 by State Sen. President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego). The measure, also known as the California Housing Opportunity and More Efficiency (HOME) Act, would make it easier to build additional housing in areas zoned only for single family homes.

"The intent of SB 9 is clear – to streamline the process so homeowners can create a duplex or subdivide their existing property up to four units – and aims to set California's housing availability on a path of inclusion so that more families can attain the California dream," Atkins said in a statement.

Newsom also signed Senate Bill 10 by State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), which also takes aim at the issue of zoning. Under SB 10, local governments can zone areas for buildings up 10 units in areas close to transit, without having to undergo the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process.

"It shouldn't take five or 10 years for cities to re-zone, and SB 10 gives cities a powerful new tool to get the job done quickly," said Wiener, who had pushed previous measures aimed at increasing housing density in transit-rich areas.

Other housing legislation signed by Newsom on Thursday include Senate Bill 8 by State Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which extends provisions accelerating the housing approval process through 2030.

The issue of zoning only for single-family homes has come under increased scrutiny in recent years as a cause of racial segregation in housing and as home prices have reached dizzying heights in California. Earlier this year, Berkeley and Sacramento passed ordinances ending single-family zoning.

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