Gavin Newsom Abolishes Single-Family Zoning With Joe Biden's Support

US Politics
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Damir Mujezinovic

Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom easily survived the recent recall effort, trouncing Republican candidate Larry Elder in an astonishing landslide.

Immediately after winning the election, Newsom signed into law a controversial new bill that effectively abolishes single-family zoning in his state.

According to Newsom's office, the bill was signed into law with President Joe Biden's support.

But will the California law actually achieve its stated goal of addressing the housing affordability and homeless crisis in California? Some believe it will, while others are skeptical.

Read more below.

Abolishing Suburbs

The conservative-leaning Daily Wire reported that Newsom's bill would "effectively turn suburbs into cities."

By signing the bill into law, Newsom opened the door for the development of up to four residential units on single-family lots in California.

Suburban lots in the state can now be split in two, even if the resulting lots are as small as 1,200 square feet.

Progressives and affordable housing advocates have welcomed the move, but critics claim Newsom and California Democrats are essentially moving to abolish suburbs.

Biden's Support

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Newsom's office said in a statement that the Biden White House is backing the bill.

The statement noted that Newsom "signed California State Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins’ SB 9, the California Housing Opportunity and More Efficiency (HOME) Act, which the White House this month commended to increase housing supply."

Newsom, meanwhile, stated that the law "will help address the interrelated problems of climate change and housing affordability by promoting denser housing closer to major employment hubs -- a critical element in limiting California’s greenhouse gas emissions."

Beyond California

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Will other states adopt similar laws?

As The Daily Wire noted, Biden actually wants to make a similar bill national law, at least that's what he said during the 2020 presidential campaign.

Introduced by Democratic Senator Cory Booker, the HOME Act would withhold federal transportation funding from "any town or county that requires minimum lot sizes or doesn’t permit apartments to be built amidst single-family homes."

"Every town in America would then start looking more like cities, full of condos and apartments rather than spacious single-family homes," the outlet wrote.

Criticism

The group Livable California said that Newsom made a major mistake by signing the single-family zoning bill into law.

"SB 9 overrides local control in an effort to create needed housing, but misses the mark by introducing community and environmental threats while failing to create affordable housing," the group said in a press release, describing the bill as "troubling" and "deeply flawed."

"We believe California can find a way to produce more affordable and more plentiful housing without putting lives in danger. This isn’t it," they added.

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