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Wiener's New Housing Plan: Allow For More Duplexes, Fourplexes Statewide

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – State Sen. Scott Wiener has unveiled his latest attempt to boost housing production in California amid the state's ongoing housing crisis, weeks after a major housing bill he authored was defeated in the legislature.

Wiener (D-San Francisco) unveiled Senate Bill 902 on Monday, which would allow for the building duplex, triplex or fourplex homes in lower density neighborhoods by right, depending on the size of the community.

Duplexes would be allowed in communities with fewer than 10,000 people, while triplexes would be allowed in communities between 10,000 and 50,000 residents. Fourplexes would be allowed in cities with over 50,000 people. Areas at high risk for wildfires would be exempt.

The legislation would also allow cities, under certain circumstances, to rezone areas up to 10 units per parcel without having to go through the environmental review process.

"To tackle California's severe housing shortage, we must all pitch in. By authorizing two, three and four units per parcel statewide, and by giving cities a powerful new tool to increase density even more, SB 902 recognizes that we're all in this together and makes it easier for cities to do the right thing," Wiener said in a statement Tuesday.

SB902's introduction comes after the failure earlier this year of Senate Bill 50, which aimed to increase housing production near transit and job centers. SB50 died in the State Senate amid opposition from local governments who feared losing local decision making on zoning and by tenant groups who feared the measure would spur gentrification in lower-income communities.

California's housing shortage, estimated at 3.5 million units, has been a focus of Wiener, who has authored numerous bills on the housing issue.

Wiener also introduced Senate Bill 899 earlier this month, a measure that would allow religious institutions and nonprofit hospitals to build 100 percent affordable housing developments on their land, such as church parking lots.

It is unclear when SB902 or SB899 would be considered by lawmakers.

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