TechEquity Supports Legalizing Density

May 13, 2020

We support SB 902 which will repeal single-family only zoning statewide and instead allow two to four unit buildings on every residential property in California. Single-family only zoning policies are rooted in a racist and exclusionary past. This bill will begin to correct that ugly legacy and massively increase our capacity to build new housing.

The bill also makes it easier for cities to add even more density near transit and job centers which allows workers to live closer to their jobs, reducing the reliance on cars and helping California meet its carbon emissions reduction goals.

We have submitted a letter of support to the California Senate which you can read below.

Dear Senator Wiener,

On behalf of TechEquity Collaborative and our members, I am writing to express my strong support for SB 902 which will create more housing by ending single-family zoning and making it easier for cities to allow more housing near transit.

TechEquity Collaborative is a community organization that educates, activates, and connects thousands of tech workers in California. We believe the tech industry can and should contribute to broad-based growth that benefits everyone. We think that instead of being a force for displacement and inequality, tech can create opportunities and widespread prosperity. We have a responsibility to use our voice to advocate for policy that will grant access to abundant housing for everyone who wants to live in California.

California is in the middle of a housing crisis, with rents hitting record highs and an unprecedented number of our neighbors unable to find a home. The main reason for the crisis is the acute shortage of housing in the state. California needs 3.5 million additional housing units to alleviate this shortage, which would tame rental prices and bring many unhoused Californians into a home. Governor Gavin Newsom, while running for office in 2018, promised to achieve this goal by 2025, but last year California saw a decline in housing production. Clearly, we need more action to spur housing production in California.

SB 902 ends single-family exclusive zoning and allows duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes throughout the state. It also makes it easier for cities to allow greater housing density near public transit by exempting those zoning changes from environmental review. These changes remove significant barriers to building the housing California needs to address the crisis.

Single-family only zoning, rooted in racist and segregationist history, severely limits the availability of housing in the state. It mandates that only one family can live on a plot instead of allowing many families to share the space. This results in less housing and ensures that the housing that is built is more expensive. Eliminating single-family zoning will allow for much more housing in California, and by spreading the building costs across multiple units, will make that new housing much more affordable.

SB 902 would also make it easier for cities to encourage additional housing near public transportation and job centers. The bill would allow cities to increase the density of housing near transit and jobs to ten units per parcel without requiring an environmental impact review. The environmental reviews are costly which inhibits housing production and creating more housing near transit and jobs would lessen the need for car commutes which has clear environmental benefits. 

California is in the midst of a severe housing crisis caused by a chronic underproduction of housing. SB 902 would create more housing by ending single-family zoning and facilitating greater housing density near public transportation and job centers. That’s why TechEquity is proud to support SB 902.