Published by Breitbart | October 13, 2021
A pillar of the American Dream is under assault across the country, but nowhere is it more pronounced than in California.
Social justice activists and Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom are invading single-family home neighborhoods with plans to replace them with multi-unit properties.
A brochure for a San Diego neighborhood in the 1950s highlighted why families flocked to the suburbs: “More luxury at lower cost,” “private and protected,” “beauty and convenience.”
Add to that safety from urban crime, and Americans embraced this part of the Dream by the millions.
“It was a California fantasy,” the New York Times said of Clairemont Villas. “Over six colorful pages the brochure sold buyers on an indoor-outdoor lifestyle where the living room opened to a yard and children played behind a redwood fence.”
But now that dream is unraveling, spelled out graphically the Times piece:
Two days after surviving a California recall election, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 9. By legalizing duplexes statewide and allowing people to subdivide single-family lots, S.B. 9 effectively ended single-family zoning in a state of 40 million whose identity is predicated on the suburban idyll.
Cities have lost most of their power to prevent backyard units from being built, and state legislators have tried to speed construction by reducing development fees, requiring cities to permit them within a few weeks and prohibiting local governments from requiring dedicated parking spots. In contrast to the battles over S.B. 9 — this year’s duplex law, which was branded a bill of “chaos” that would “destroy neighborhoods” and be “the beginning of the end of homeownership in California” — the A.D.U. laws passed with no comparable controversy.
Last year, San Diego’s City Council voted unanimously to expand on state law by allowing bonus units, sometimes as many as a half-dozen per lot, if a portion are set aside for moderate-income households. Development has exploded on cue. California cities issued about 13,000 permits for accessory units in 2020, which is a little over 10 percent of the state’s new housing stock and up from less than 1 percent eight years ago. The effect is already visible throughout Southern California: four-unit buildings rising behind one-story bungalows; prefabricated studio apartments being hoisted into backyards via crane; blocks where a new front-yard apartment sits across the street from a new backyard apartment down the way from a new side-yard apartment.
And the radical transformation of the state’s housing landscape is actually enriching developers as it forces people to live in more crowded conditions.