On Aug. 6 three other bad bills were approved by the State Senate Housing Committee: AB 725, AB 2345 (lets developers override city standards on height, open space, parking, setbacks, side yards and other careful planning) and AB 3040 (lets cities "upzone" single-family areas to fourplexes)
On Aug. 11, SB 1120 (co-authored by state Senator Lena Gonzalez, it would crush single-family zoning, allowing 4 market-rate homes where a one home now stands) and SB 902 will be heard in the Ass'y Local Gov't Committee. SB 902 lets city councils toss out voter-approved protection of lands.
SB 1085, SB 995 remain problematic.
Sac'to Bill Would Allow Four Residences On Single Family Home Lots; SB 1120 (Co-Authored By LB State Senator Lena Gonzalez) Passed state Senate In June, Faces Assembly Committee Hearing
|(Aug. 8, 2020, 4:25 p.m.) -- A Sacramento bill (SB 1120), co-authored by LB-area state Senator Lena Gonzalez (D, LB-SE LA County) that would allow (and require cities to allow) four residential units on single family home lots is approaching a key Assembly Committee hearing on Aug. 11. Supporters say it's a needed "housing production" bill that builds on prior legislation enabling Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU's). Opponents say it would invite speculator/developer driven density that would destabilize single family home neighborhoods and effectively end single family home zoning as we know it. .
SB 1120 contains both "duplex" provisions and "urban lot split" provisions. Its duplex provisions require cities to grant "ministerial" (checklist type) approval to proposed housing development projects with two residential units on parcels zoned for single-family residences. Its "urban lot split" provisions require ministerial approval to subdivide an existing parcel to create two new parcels of equal size no smaller than 1,200 square feet (unless a local ordinance allows a smaller minimum.) Garages and yards are not required.
The Assembly Committee's legislative analysis acknowledges: "Under this bill, a property owner could independently seek ministerial approval for an urban lot split, a duplex, or the owner could seek approval for both an urban lot split and a duplex."
In other words, under SB 1120 an owner or developer could take a single family zoned parcel with one home on it, subdivide it into two equal size lots and then build two homes on each lot (four residences on what had been a single family home lot.).
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SB 1120 would let cities require one off-street parking space per unit but woould prevent any parking requirements if the parcel is within half a mile walking distance of public transit or a car share vehicle is within a half block from the parcel.
Qualifying parcels must be within census designed urbanized areas, not within historical districts and not require demolishing housing for moderate, low or very income tenants or subject to rent or price controls.
On June 24, the state Senate approved SB 1120 on a
The Assembly Local Government Committee's legislative analysis of SB 1120 states in pertinent part:
This bill exempts any ordinance a local agency adopts to administer the ministerial approval of these projects from CEQA. Additionally, under the bill, duplexes and urban lot splits that meet specified conditions must be approved ministerially by the relevant local agency. Ministerial approvals remove a project from all discretionary decisions of a local government, including an environmental review under CEQA. Thus, establishing processes to approve certain types of projects ministerially also creates exemptions from CEQA. A CEQA exemption provides a tremendous benefit to property owners, developers, local governments and other parties involved in the approval of a project as it allows for the project to be completed in an expedited fashion...
In 2017, Sacramento lawmakers passed three bills (SB 13, AB 68 and AB 881) that require CA cities to permit "triplex" single family lot density by allowing an ADU (on Sacramento specified terms) plus a second "junior" (smaller) ADU in nearly all areas zoned for single family homes. LB-area state Senators Umberg and Gonzalez both voted "yes" on the bills; Asssemblyman Patrick O'Donnell (D, LB) voted "no" on SB 13 and AB 68 with "no vote recorded" on AB 881. The three bills varied in some respects but were basically consistent in overriding aspects of local ADU ordinances, LB's ADU ordinance hammered out in several Council discussions and debates.
Regarding SB 1120, arguments in support cited by the Assembly Committee's legislative analysis include the following:
The Terner Center for Housing Innovation writes in support, "The majority of Californians cannot afford a median priced home, and single family-only zoning also prevents the creation of affordable housing in oftentimes high opportunity communities. It should also be noted that our structure of single family zoning has historically been used to reinforce segregation by effectively keeping People of Color out of affluent, White neighborhoods.
Arguments in opposition include this from "Citizens Preserving Venice":
We have serious concerns about the elimination of single-family zoning that this bill will cause statewide. The bill would allow four market-rate homes to replace one single-family home. Those four units could become eight units in areas that allow "accessory dwelling units" (ADUs). There is no affordable housing requirement despite this egregious increase in density. Clearly the people of California who are facing dire economic times are in need of affordable housing. But without requirements to include affordable housing, this bill would be a gift to speculators and developers up and down the state who will build high-end units to maximize their profits.
Livable California, a non-profit advocacy group, has been outspoken in opposing SB 1120. In the text of a suggested opposition letter, it writes:
...This experimental bill eliminates single-family zoning statewide, letting buyers split any lot of 2,400 sq ft or more to build four market-rate homes without yards. In cities with their own "granny flat" laws, eight market-rate units could be built.. .
SB 1120 was introduced on.Feb. 19, 2020 with state Senator Gonzalez among its
As SB 1120 advanced, any Councilmember could have agendized a City Council item to take a position on the bill. None did.
If SB 1120 clears the Assembly Local Government Committee on Aug. 11, it must still win approval in the full Assembly floor, then return to the state Senate for a concurrence vote in any Assembly amendments..
Disclosure: Livable California purchased an advocacy ad on LBREPORT.com (July 29-Aug. 11) opposing "9 bad housing bills," among which was SB 1120. The above article's content is independently produced by LBREPORT.com which is solely responsible for its content.
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