Facing the housing crunch, Los Angeles voters are returning to single-family neighborhoods

A new poll shows that a majority of Los Angeles County voters support two new state laws designed to stimulate housing construction, including one that dramatically changes traditional single-family zoning.

The survey, conducted by the Los Angeles Business Council Institute, in cooperation with the Los Angeles Times, provides one of the first tests of the public’s reaction to the new laws, which could lead to A fundamental change in the development landscape in California.

The two bills, Senate Bills 9 and 10, go into effect on January 1.

It was the culmination of a years-long debate in Sacramento about local zoning restrictions that could reduce housing production. The fighting sparked fierce opposition among homeowner groups, particularly in Los Angeles, where opponents said the proposals threaten to devastate single-family neighborhoods.

The poll indicates that the majority of voters so far have not adopted this pessimistic view.

At the county level, 55% of voters support Senate Bill 9, which allows landlords to build duplexes, and in some cases four rooms, in most single-family neighborhoods statewide. In contrast, 27% opposed the law and 18% were undecided.

Senate Bill 10, which allows local city councils to expedite the construction of apartment complexes of up to 10 units near transit centers and urban fill areas, including areas where one family lives, is getting stronger support. 68% of district voters support, 13% oppose, and 19% are undecided.

The survey showed a sharp difference between homeowners and renters, especially in SB 9. Tenants supported the law by more than 3-to-1, while homeowners were deeply divided, according to the survey.

Nearly two-thirds of all housing in the state is single-family homes and up to three-quarters of the state’s developable land is now designated solely for single-family housing, according to the A survey conducted by the Turner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley.

Huts and backyards have long been seen as key to the “California Dream” of modest, middle-class living.

But these homes are still less expensive. The median sale price for an existing single-family home statewide was $798,440 in October, According to California Assn. Brokers, an increase of more than 12% from last year. In Los Angeles County, the average sales price of $848,970 was about 14% higher than last year.

Advocates of the new laws assert that they can help adjust prices by stimulating home construction in areas that have been off-limits to new growth.

“The housing affordability crisis is undermining the California dream for families across the state, and threatening our long-term growth and prosperity,” Governor Gavin Newsom said when signing the laws in September.

“Making a meaningful impact on this crisis will require bold investments, strong collaboration… and political courage from our leaders and communities to do the right thing and build homes for all.”

Mark DiCamillo, director of polling at UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, who acted as an advisor to The Times on the new survey, said tenant support for SB 9 likely stems from hope that the law might facilitate home ownership.

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

DiCamillo said he was surprised that even so many homeowners supported the new law, given the potential to disturb single-family neighborhoods.

He said the findings, including among homeowners, “should be encouraging for supporters of the new law.”

The building materials on the truck are delivered to the housing construction site

Building materials are delivered to the housing construction site in Koreatown on October 8, 2020.

(Myung Jae-chun/Los Angeles Times)

Among Los Angeles County Democrats, 59% were in favor of SB 9, according to the poll. The poll found Republicans narrowly divided, with opponents slightly outnumbering supporters, making them the only significant demographic group against the law.

But in the legislative debate, disagreements over the new law were not entirely partisan.

Los Angeles City Council, where 14 of the 15 representatives are Democrats, overwhelmingly Viewer of the law, with West Los Angeles Council member Paul Kuritz, a Democrat, saying they would “kill communities and the environment.” Some advocates in South Los Angeles opposed the new laws on the grounds that they would promote modernization.

Some Republicans in the state legislature have been supporting the two laws, arguing that they expand homeowners’ property rights.

Already, some cities across the state They plan policies to mitigate the effects of SB 9. Some, for example, would limit the size and height of new projects, parking sites, and require renting additional housing units only to those with middle or low incomes.

There are likely to be legal challenges with such actions.

It’s also possible that the new laws won’t make much of a difference.

Laws do not prohibit building new single-family homes. SB 9 allows landlords to build a duplex – or four storeys – on their land if they want to, but it doesn’t require anyone to do so. Any changes opened by SB 10 require City Council approval first.

Moreover, Other zoning changes in recent years It’s already made it easier for landlords to build smaller secondary homes — known as granny flats, cassettes, or annexes — on parcels of single-family homes.

The poll was conducted between October 27 and November 3 among 906 registered voters in Los Angeles County. The sample was split for questions in SB 9 and SB 10, with nearly half of the electorate asked about each bill. The margin of error for these results was 4.5 percentage points in either direction.

Write a Comment