Letters to the Editor: Will SB 50 result in more affordable housing in California, or just more housing?

Rental apartments in Koreatown in 2014.
Rental apartments in Koreatown in 2014.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: What is missing from the L.A. Times’ editorial on Senate Bill 50 is an explanation of how the proposed state law on zoning near transit would result in more affordable housing.

Homelessness is not solely the result of a “failure to construct enough housing to keep up with population growth.” Over the years, much residential construction has taken place with condominiums replacing affordable rental apartments.

Of most importance is for SB 50 to balance affordable housing against the interests of real estate developers. Perhaps supporters of this bill could identify where this latest version of SB 50 corrects the defects of the prior version.

The underlying cause of homelessness will remain with this bill.

Alan Dymond, Studio City



To the editor: The state of Oregon and the city of Minneapolis each recently passed a law ending single-family zoning in residential neighborhoods. In those places, many areas are now zoned so new construction will consist largely of duplexes, triplexes and quadriplexes.

Maybe this could be a middle ground for California instead of the all or nothing of a single-family house or a relatively large apartment complex. Personally, I would rather live next to a duplex instead of being in the shadow of a mid-rise apartment building.

Don Luepnitz, Norwalk


To the editor: There are important reasons besides zoning for California’s housing shortage.

The California Environmental Quality Act has been used to deny or delay development, including housing, often through lengthy lawsuits. State mandates for solar installations and “zero emission” homes increase the cost of housing.

Also, local governments can impose permit and inspection fees well beyond the cost to the city of these services. Rent control measures discourage new rental housing.

The editorial board has supported some of these policies. Why did you fail to mention these other important causes of the housing shortage?

Steve Murray, Huntington Beach


To the editor: I hear rumblings about SB 50 allowing multifamily dwellings in single-family neighborhoods. There are two very important things that seem to be left out of the conversation.

First is that the cost to acquire properties in these neighborhoods prohibits a profit for builders. Single-family properties that would be candidates for development are just too expensive. By the time the developer buys the land and figures in design, permitting, demolition and building expenses, there’s no profit to be made.

Second is that many properties with enough land to support multifamily structures, even duplexes, already have additional housing on them in the form of guest houses and similar structures, whether permitted or not. However, the acquisition cost for these properties makes renovating them as multifamily properties unprofitable.

So, let’s forget the fear-inducing arguments by people in single-family neighborhoods that if SB 50 is passed, their neighborhoods will forever change.

Barry Weiss, Studio City