It’s Okay to Be Scared of SB-9

Not all NIMBYs are wrong.

When we think about the people who oppose the end of single family zoning in California, we might have some assumptions about where they live or what they look like. But SB-9 is such a sweeping piece of legislation, and California such a diverse state, that in many cases those assumptions are wrong. Especially in Los Angeles.

Since the pandemic, median home prices in Leimert Park, West Adams and Crenshaw have crossed the $1 million threshold, after as much as doubling in value over the previous decade. The L.A. Times reports those are just a few of the historically Black neighborhoods in South L.A. where homeowners are outraged about SB-9, which some see as SB-9 as a backdoor to more gentrification. Residents fear that the law could end up tearing apart generational communities if developers target the area’s comparatively cheap land. Which is impossible to rule out.

It’s a good reminder that SB-9 means a lot more than being able to put an ADU in your backyard. The new law affects so many people, in so many different ways — most of them unknown at this stage – that we shouldn’t be surprised when we hear some of the communities that don’t want it aren’t what we’d expect.

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