Cities, organizations and individuals across California opposed SB 827, and we won! The final State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee vote on SB 827 was 6 opposed, 3 abstain/absent, and 4 support (the supporting votes included the bill’s two sponsors, Scott Wiener and Nancy Skinner). Why the Senators opposed SB 827:
- Don’t like the one-size-fits-all approach
- Zoning decisions should be local and regional, not statewide mandates
- New jobs and housing should be planned together
- Basing bill on rail/bus routes is flawed since future transportation is changing
- Adversely impacts lower income communities and contributes to gentrification
- Needs more affordable housing incentives
- Needs increased parking allotments in certain cities
- Bus routes change frequently so this transfers zoning power to local MTAs
- No plans or funding for infrastructure (sewer, water, schools, fire, police) to keep up with increased density
- Building along transit creates a corridor of homes vs. cluster of communities
- Developers reap all the benefits and cities suffer the consequences
Despite serious concerns from Senators opposing the bill, Senator Weiner and his colleagues vowed to return with a revised bill in January 2019.
Meanwhile, Senator Wiener has proposed other bills that take away significant local controls. As we focused our efforts on SB 827, a less publicized, but just as damaging bill, SB 828, is making it way through the legislature. SB 828 will be heard at the Transportation and Housing Committee on April 24th. Please write and call the committee members to register your opposition to SB 828. (Senators’ names, emails, and phone numbers are available here.)
Under SB 828, Senator Wiener will double cities’ quota for new housing production (already set in 2014 via the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), a data-driven legally-mandated statewide process.) So he’s moving back the goal posts after the games started. If cities do not meet these virtually unattainable goals, then Senator Wiener’s SB35 enacted in January 2018 will force the cities to allow all construction projects to become by-right. By-right means developers can build what they want and where they want. It deregulates the housing approval process and takes away the public’s right to weigh in on development projects. That means:
- NO design review
- NO neighborhood notification
- No CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act review)
- NO Discretionary Review
SB 828 green lights projects and muffles the voices of local residents.
SB 828 requires cities to rezone sites to accommodate this 2X of new housing units. Moreover, it requires that the RHNA quota will be achieved via construction of multi-unit buildings. There goes the concept of single-family homes in cities.