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SB 828 (Sac'to Mandates For Regional New Housing Units) Advances With Amendments (Some Agreed, Some For Discussion); Several Senators Warm To Changes In "Regional Housing Needs Assessment" Process But Concerned About "One Size Fits All" Approach is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(April 25, 2018, 7:05 a.m.) -- As seen LIVE on, the state Senate's Housing/Transportation Committee voted on April 24 to advance SB 828 to the state Senate's Appropriations Committee (the gatekeeper before the bill reaches the state Senate floor) with amendments that include reducing the bill's mandate on cities to produce low/very low income housing units from 200% to now 125% of RHNA ["Regional Housing Needs Assessment" determined by a regional government body] with the bill's author, Sen Scott Wiener (D, SF) saying his goal is 150%.

More significantly, several Senators (including Committee chair Jim Beall (D, San Jose) agreed with Sen. Wiener that current the RHNA process [locally decided by the So. Cal. Ass'n of Governments/SCAG, a non-elected body with policies approved by various elected officials regionally] needs more "data driven" and "less political" decisions by regional bodies in determining how many housing units are "needed" in local cities. Sen. Beall said his goal now is to make further changes to SB 828 to address remaining issues before SB 828 reaches the state Senate Appropriations Committee [the gatekeeper Committee before the bill reaches the Senate floor.]

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A number of cities including the City of LB ( coverage here) and some county governments opposed SB 828 as currently written. Development interests supported SB 828. Some Committee members voiced concerns that SB 828 applies a "one size fits all" approach to small and large cities, but ultimately voted to advance SB 828 saying they would watch what subsequent amendments ultimately produce.

SB 828 would change SCAG's current RHNA numbers from state mandated "goals" for cities to incorporate into their local land use planning documents into de facto required outcomes, with any "deficiencies" in actually produced "needed" housing units rolled over to increase the number of housing units that a city must produce in subsequent planning periods. That outcome could make it more difficult for some cities (already assigned high "needed" numbers) to meet the requirements of SB 35 (a bill authored by Sen. Wiener and enacted in 2017) that now requires cities to give "streamlined" approval to housing developers for multi-unit housing projects if a city hasn't met meet "needed" housing units.

Sen. Wiener said the current RHNA system is "broken," citing outcomes that assigned some cities (including Redondo Beach) over a thousand "needed" new housing units while neighboring cities of similar size were assigned only a handful of housing units. (Beverly Hills was assigned 3 low income units over eight years.)

Sen. Ben Allen (D, Redondo Beach) voiced concern over SB 828 "doubling-down" and penalizing cities that had planned for low/very low income housing but for various reasons didn't meet those goals. The League of CA Cities remained neutral on SB 828, saying at hearing that it's open to working with Wiener to address issues on the bill.

Sen. Wiener agreed to amendments suggested by Committee staff in its legislative analysis, agreed to reduce required housing units from 200% to 125% of RHNA (with his stated goal of 150%) and repeatedly indicated that he's willing to have "conversations" and discuss other changes to his bill to deal with issues raised at the Committee, but offered no specifics.

SB 828 now heads to the state Senate's Appropriations Committee, a "non-policy" committee that's supposed to consider only fiscal impacts of proposed bills but as a practical matter operates as a majority-party controlled "gatekeeper" preventing bills from reaching the Senate floor if not supported by majority party (Dem) leadership. The Appropriations Committee is chaired by state Senator Ricardo Lara (D, LB-Huntington Park).








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