The AIDS Healthcare Foundation announced Thursday it filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 10, which Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law on Sept. 16 to create a voluntary process for cities to streamline zoning processes to allow multi-unit housing on single-family lots near transit in urban infill areas.
“We believe SB10 includes a blatant constitutional overreach in its provision allowing two-thirds of members a city council, board of supervisors or other such `members of a legislative body’ to override local initiatives, including those with zoning restrictions, that may have been legally put in place by voters through the initiative process,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “This provision ignores the intent and will of voters, totally disregarding the sanctity of voters’ rights. We believe the provision is clearly unconstitutional and are therefore seeking to invalidate that provision and the entire law.”
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in the Los Angeles County Superior Court of California.
After Newsom signed the bill into law, its author — Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco — said:
“California’s severe housing shortage is badly damaging our state and we need many approaches to tackle it. SB 10 provides one important approach, making it dramatically easier and faster for cities to zone for more housing. It shouldn’t take five or 10 years for cities to re-zone, and SB 10 gives cities a powerful new tool to get the job done quickly. I want to thank the governor for signing this essential bill and for continuing to lead on housing.”
Before the bill was signed, the Los Angeles City Council had passed a resolution in opposition to the bill. Councilman Mike Bonin cited a housing advocacy organization’s opposition to the bill as a reason for him voting against it, despite wanting more dense housing.
“I look at who’s behind (the bills) and who’s opposed to them and when I see the affordable housing organizations here in Los Angeles saying this doesn’t do it for us, that concerns me,” Bonin said.
Housing Is A Human Right, a division of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, came out in opposition to the bill, as well as Senate Bill 9, and conducted a statewide poll that found 63% of Californians oppose SB9 and 67% oppose SB10. Senate Bill 9 — introduced by Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco — allows lots zoned for single-family housing to have up to four units.
“We know that (the bills) will cause developers to target our low-income Black and brown communities … there is no requirement for affordable housing or homeless housing, and given that we have 161,000 people who are homeless in the state of California, over 60,000 in the county and over 40,000 in the city, it is absolutely unconscionable to have a housing production bill that would not provide for our homeless community or for people who desperately need affordable housing,” Susie Shannon, policy director for Housing Is A Human Right, said in a call to a City Council meeting.