Sun. May 19th, 2024

By Donna Westfall – January 16, 2020

On the radar is Senate Bill 50. In effect it would be one more instance where Sacramento (our state government) would take control away from local governments. In this case, building high density housing projects next to single family residences.

Let’s dissect SB 50.  First, who proposed it and why?

Here’s the who….Scott Weiner is a member of the California State Senate.  He’s 49 years old, and a Democrat representing parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties. He believes the data that California needs 3.5 million housing units by the year 2025, which is in contrast to UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.

The 3.5 mil figure was derived by McKinsey & Company. Thet used New York’s housing per capital as the goal. New York with half the population of California and ranked 4th in the nation for being the least affordable state for housing. Take a false figure, (3.5 mil) repeat it in public enough times by the likes of  the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and others and it starts to sound like the truth instead of being off by 2 million units.

What are the real numbers?  Probably closer to 1.3 million. Because the study should have compared the needs of California to something a little more realistic like Texas.

Here’s the why… with credit to , Palm Springs Desert Sun, January 13, 2020:

“The state senator (Weiner) has spent two years pushing legislation to require cities to zone for taller, denser housing near rail and bus stations and for tri- and four-plexes in ‘jobs-rich’ areas, including suburban neighborhoods full of detached single-family homes.

Building new units near public transit and jobs, he argues, will lower rents, reduce traffic and in turn, cut down on the greenhouse gasses emitted by the cars Californians use on their commutes.”

Makes sense for the Bay area, but does it make sense for the rest of California and will this affect Del Norte County?

Let’s look at what’s happening to our “Golden State.”  More people are leaving than entering.  Another survey from UC Berkeley will recite some stats; and here we’ll give credit to  Kris Sanchez NBC Bay Area News –

  • 71% cite the high cost of housing
  • 58% cite high taxes
  • 46% cite the political culture (meaning conservative are unhappy with the direction our State is taking)
  • Overall, 51% of registered voters are thinking of leaving California.

Del Norte County and “job rich” areas?  Ummmm….. don’t think so unless you only include the Prison and the Government. We should only be so lucky to be job rich.  Rail and bus stations?   Ummmm….. don’t think so….. because we don’t have them. Del Norte County population continues to shrink. 28,610 in 2010.  As of 2017, 27,470….. down a bit from 10 years ago.

Credit to Emily Mibach, Daily Post Staff Writer dated March 6, 2019 when former Palo Alto Mayor Eric Filseth, said this, “When the state is in charge, he said, you get projects like the redevelopment of the Cupertino Vallco Mall into a housing and office project. Cupertino had to allow that project to go through under SB 35, an earlier bill authored by Weiner. He said it would add some 9,000 jobs in 2.4 million square feet of office space, but it will only have 2,400 homes.

That exacerbates the housing-jobs imbalance, which is responsible for driving up rents.”

Let’s get down to brass tacks.  When there is a demand for housing, prices go up.  Rental rates go up. Landlord/property owners don’t have a problem with that.  Renters will have a problem though. Realistically, in Del Norte County, SB 50 shouldn’t affect anything.  However, whenever a law goes into effect where the State takes control over anything that was formerly left up to local control, down the road we may be sorry.

We may be seeing the demolition of tracks of single family residences to put up multi-family housing in other cities if SB 50 passes.

2 thoughts on “Will SB 50 be the decline of single family residences?”
  1. One might look toward Arcata and what they have done in this regard around their Plaza. Numerous new buildings with retail on the street level and apartments above have been developed. Dan Johnson of Danco Development has been active in this. (I believe he purchased the former El Patio Motel on H Street here.)

    Contact Karen Diemer, Arcata City Manager, at 707-822-5953 or

  2. Donna,thank you for this Article. Our local leaders need to keep track of what’s happening in larger cities because it could eventually filter down to Crescent City! Right now as you said it’s not affecting us. One of the things that I would like to see in Crescent City that I think would help the downtown area is to build some apartments above some of our retail and office buildings! It would help Crescent City look alive on the weekends and at night after 5 o’clock! The City needs to promote this plus maybe some shops would stay open at night and that could help our economy and give other people jobs. Let’s explore this and check other small downtowns to measure their success!!

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