By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new law this week that will allow homeowners across the state to build more housing on the land they own.

Planned Desert Community In lancaster California, USA. (Photo by Sam Lafoca/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)

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The law is aimed at easing the housing crisis in California by streamlining the permit process, increasing density and diversity in neighborhoods, and making housing more affordable near major employment hubs.

Most of California’s cities and towns have been zoned as “single-family home,” stipulating that only one housing unit could be built on the lot, for decades. The new legislation, SB 9, facilitates the process for homeowners to build a duplex or split their current residential lot in order to add units on their existing properties.

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It’s “an opportunity for our neighbors to be able to create housing for other neighbors, or even their own family members,” said State Sen. Lena Gonzalez of Long Beach, who co-authored the bill.

A UC Berkeley study has found the law could allow up to 400,000 homeowners to add units to their property.

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Critics of the law, however, say the new law gives developers too much control and allows homeowners to change the character of a neighborhood.