Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell (D, Long Beach-San Pedro) Announces He OPPOSES SB 35 (Sac'to Dictated Developer-Desired Housing Density Bill); See His Full Statement Plus Our Sac'to Update Re Possible Votes
|(Sept. 7, 2017, 8:10 p.m.) -- At late afternoon today (Sept. 7), Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell (D, Long Beach-San Pedro) released a statement (full text below) indicating that he OPPOSES SB 35, a bill that if enacted could in many cases require cities to allow developer-desired multi-unit residential buildings without local decisionmaking and without public input regarding the projects' neighborhood and city environmental (CEQA) impacts.
Assemblyman O'Donnell statement: Senate Bill 35 is bad for Long Beach and bad for California. This bill has the potential to significantly restrict the ability of California cities to control new development within their boundaries. We should not plan cities or approve new local developments from Sacramento. This bill threatens neighborhoods by allowing developers to build -- by right, -- meaning new projects will not be shaped by community input, but instead by state-imposed planning law. Cities will be forced to approve new developments without any public input as to how they look or fit in with surrounding neighborhoods.
|SB 35 could be enacted with a simple Assembly majority (41 "yes" Assembly votes; Dems won 54 seats in Nov. 2016 elections) but two other significant housing measures (SB 2 and SB 3, funding for subsidized "affordable" housing) require 2/3 Assembly approval. Assemblyman O'Donnell isn't the only Dem Assemblymember to publicly voice opposition to SB 35. In August, Assemblyman Marc Levine (D, Marin County) told SF's KQED that he opposes SB 35...and there may be other Dems unwilling to push the "yes" button on SB 35...although we don't know for certain (yet) how many.
It's unlikely (but not impossible) that Sac'to Dem Assembly leadership would want to bring SB 35 to a floor vote without certainty that it has the votes to pass SB 2 and SB 3 (requiring 2/3 approval, meaning all Dems) as part of a "housing package"...and that hasn't happened yet. The Assembly deadline for enacting legislation this year is Sept. 15.
As currently written (link below), SB 35 would grant developers near automatic City Hall approval for developments containing multi-unit residential elements (plus incentives to provide subsidized "affordable" units) without public input currently required for large projects; without an EIR examining the development's impacts; without providing parking required under LB laws and without city staff or City Council approval at nearly all locations [exceptions include in coastal zone, flood zones, etc.] where city zoning allows residences IF the city hasn't issued sufficient permits (not merely adopted "plans" or "goals") for new housing in numbers decided by a regional body (So Cal Ass'n of Gov'ts) [LBREPORT.com coverage here.]
SB 35 could also prevent cities like LB from requiring any minimum-required parking for developers who seek to build new housing within half a mile of "public transit" and in other circumstances. For proposed residential projects in other areas, SB 35 could forbid the city from requiring more than one parking space per residential unit [although many residential units might have two or more residents who drive.] [LBREPORT.com coverage of the parking aspect of the story is here.]
The City of LB's Director of Development Services, Amy Bodek has confirmed to LBREPORT.com that the City of Long Beach would be subject to SB 35's mandates at this time.
To view SB 35's text in full, click here.. Because the bill is complex, we recommend focusing on its numbered pages 11-23. They show exactly how, with few exceptions, SB 35 would effectively end most LB City Hall decisionmaking, current public input and local parking requirements.
As previously reported by LBREPORT.com, on Sunday Sept. 3, roughly 60 ELB residents interrupted their Labor Day holiday weekend to attend a grassroots organized meeting, first mentioned on NextDoor.com only two days earlier, where organizers Kimberly Toscas, Ramen Vasishth and Angela Kimball described the potential impacts of SB 35 as well as LB city staff proposed land use changes that could affect their neighborhood and neighborhoods beyond. [LBREPORT.com coverage here.]
SB 35's supporters have described it as "streamlining" or "cutting red tape" in the housing approval process. In opposition, an independent Bay Area webpage publisher has succinctly described SB 35 as "taking power from the people" (link here)
SB 35 is opposed by the League of CA Cities, an advocacy entity comprised of over 450 CA cities in which the City of LB pays dues, but as advanced with the support of Sac'to Dem leadership, including Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D, NLB-Lakewood-Paramount).
On Aug. 29, the city of LB's Manager of Government Affairs, Diana Tang, told LBREPORT.com that the City was officially neutral on SB 35, but is "working with the author on amendments, consistent with the City's state legislative agenda as it relates to local control."
SB 35 has been viewed by some state lawmakers as part of a package of housing-related bills that include SB 2 and SB 3. These two measures are considered by some even more controversial than SB 35. They would add a new fee to real estate transactions and put a measure on an upcoming statewide ballot to enable debt-bond financing and incentives for developers proposing multi-unit housing, including subsidized below-market ("affordable") units.
If SB 35 were to reach the Assembly floor and pass (with a majority vote even without O'Donnell's opposition), it would (after Senate agreement to minor amendments) go to Governor Brown, who is expected to sign it into law. In 2016, Governor Brown publicly urged the state legislature to enact the type of provisions that SB 35 includes. On December 5, 2016. state Senator Scott Wiener (D, San Francisco) introduced SB 35 on the first day of the new legislative session.
Developing. LBREPORT.com will continue to follow and report these newsworthy, locally-ipacting developments regarding SB 35 and other Sac'to legislation as they occur.
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