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Did California enact new limits on single-family zoning, overriding local controls?

Monday, September 20, 2021
By Lisa Freedland
YES

On Sept. 16, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newson signed legislation limiting single-family zoning across the state. The law allows many homeowners to “build more than one housing unit on land that was previously designated for only one unit” under local zoning rules.

Housing affordability advocates hope the law will increase California’s notably tight housing supply. White House economists have cited its potential as a model policy response as housing prices continue to increase nationally. Another new state law fosters denser housing development near public transit lines.

One analysis of the single-family zoning bill noted a number of limitations, concluding it could “modestly accelerate” the construction of new housing units—adding a maximum 700,000 units of 2 million needed. 

Opponents are seeking to overturn the new laws with a ballot inititative in the 2022 election.

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