ALERT: State Senate Trying to Rush Through Housing Bills

In a desperate attempt to pass upzoning and to legislate state mandates that override local planning and land use decisions, Senator Wiener and other state legislators have introduced 17 housing bills. Owing to the COVID-19 stay-in-place, this session of the 2019-20 state legislature is only two months long. Wiener and his special interests plan to push these and other radical bills through the legislature with limited public hearings. This truncated process allows for the few to prevail over the majority of our legislators.

Next week (May 18) the Senate will be hearing three bills which have a significant negative impact on San Francisco. Please email the State Senate to voice your opinion on (see link below for sample emails and addresses):

Senate Bill 902 (sponsor: Wiener): Sold as “a lighter touch on SB 50” (defeated in January), it eliminates single family zoning and mandates four-plexes for San Francisco. Then it allows local governments to zone for up to ten units of housing on a lot based on adjacency to “jobs-rich,” “transit-rich” or an “urban infill area.” All of San Francisco could be subject to ten-unit upzoning. KQED’s headline for their March 2020 report revealed SB 902’s real agenda: “Sen. Wiener Wants to Abolish Single-Family-Only Neighborhoods in California.”

Senate Bill 1085 (sponsor: Skinner): This bill destroys the State Density Bonus (SDB) law’s (enacted in 2018) elements that incentivize affordable housing construction.  Under the current law, projects of five or more units can receive additional height and other concessions or allowances in return for including much-needed affordable housing in the proposed project. SB 1085 allows additional density for any project of TWO or more units – without requiring affordable housing units. It also waters down the SDB by allowing projects to include only moderate income housing – instead of all levels of affordable housing. The State Density Bonus has successfully enabled more affordable housing in projects in San Francisco. Why gut this program when it’s working?

Senate Bill 1410 (sponsor: Gonzalez): This bill amends the Housing Accountability Act (HAA enacted in 1982) which was just amended last year to “streamline” the housing process.  This bill adds an appeals board to the Housing & Community Development Department. We already have an appeals process which is working. What problem are we trying to solve? Why is the HAA yet again being revised to add yet another layer of review to the decision making/appeals process? SB 1410 clearly aims to take over the local and judicial decision-making process and move it to Sacramento where political and special interest groups have clout.

Please take action now. Email key state legislators now to register your opposition to these three housing bills (the worst bills of the 17).

Click here for the Senate bills’ template emails + instructions for submitting letters.

Email today; your opposition must be received one week before hearings to be in the “official” tally and in their packets. (Senate begins hearings the week of May 18.)

In addition to a plethora individual bills in the Senate and in the Assembly, State Senate President Toni Atkins (D- San Diego) is publicly committed to passing a “housing production” bill this session. She’s convened a committee of State Senators to produce an “omnibus” housing bill in the next few weeks. Combining elements of many bills, this mega-bill will have more sweeping and long-term impacts on the City and the State. We will keep you posted on this omnibus legislation along with key bills as the legislative process continues.

Why are our legislators introducing these radical bills at a time when our State needs to respond to the more devastating challenges of COVID-19? In California, the virus is not yet under control and to date has resulted in over 64,000 infections and 2700+ deaths.  And over three million workers are unemployed, and many more need assistance. Our elected leaders and experts predict that COVID-19 will have an enormous impact on the State’s economy, budgets, transit, and all of our lives. Please tell our legislators: these bills must not be rushed through now.

For your reference, the bills are in this folder. Thank you!

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