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 Invite A Council Majority To Adopt An Ordinance Zoning Any Parcel For Up to 10 Units Of Residential Density In These Types Of Neighborhoods;
|(Aug. 8, 2020, 9:10 p.m.) -- Remember the controversy and emotional Town Hall meetings in response to increased density in a city staff-desired revision of LB's Land Use Element (LUE)?
A Sacramento bill. that the City has allowed to advance without City opposition, could reawaken those issues.
SB 902 would let a City Council (by a simple majority vote) pass an ordinance to zone any parcel for up to 10 units of residential density per parcel in areas the bill defines as transit-rich, jobs-rich; or urban infill. The bill makes it easy for a Council majority to do so, exempting the ordinance from review of its impacts under the CA Environmental Quality Act (CEQA.) And, it would let the Council adopt the zoning ordinance even if it conflicts with or would overturn a local voter initiative [an issue a Committee staff analysis acknowledges raises constitutional issues.]
SB 902 passed the state Senate in June (details below) and is now scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Local Government Committee on Tuesday Aug. 11. (The Committee, comprised of a majority of Democrats, has no members from Long Beach.)
SB 902 is authored by state Senator Scott Wiener (D, SF) [joined by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D, SD)]. The bill includes parts of Sen. Wiener's former SB 50 which failed state Senate passage in January 2020. At that time, state Senator Tom Umberg (D, SE LB-west OC) helped stop SB 50's advance by simply not voting...but when SB 902 came to the state Senate on June 22, 2020, Sen. Umberg voted for it, advancing it to the Assembly. (The state Senate vote was 33 yes, 3 noes and 4 no vote recorded.)
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Below are SB 902's definitions of areas in which a Council majority could enact an ordinance allowing 10 units of residential density:
A "Jobs-rich area" would be identified by [Sacramento's Housing and Community Development Dept.] in consultation with the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) as high opportunity and either is jobs rich or would enable shorter commute distances based on whether, in a regional analysis, the tract meets both of the following:
SB 902 defines a "transit-rich area" as "a parcel within one-half mile of a major transit stop, or a parcel on a high-quality bus corridor [as defined below] and a "major transit stop" means a site containing any of the following:
i) An existing rail or bus rapid transit station;
The bill defines a "high-quality bus corridor" as one with "fixed route bus service that meets all of the following criteria [ultimately controlled in LB's case by LBTransit, whose non-elected board is chosen by Mayor Robert Garcia.]:
i) It has average service intervals of no more than 15 minutes during the three peak hours between 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., inclusive, and the three peak hours between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., inclusive, on Monday through Friday;
"Urban infill site" means a site that satisfies all of the following:
i) A site that is a legal parcel or parcels located in a city if, and only if, the city boundaries include some portion of either an urbanized area or urban cluster, as designated by the United States Census Bureau (Census Bureau), or, for unincorporated areas, a legal parcel or parcels wholly within the boundaries of an urbanized area or urban cluster, as designated by the Census Bureau;
The Assembly Committee's staff analysis raises CEQA issues
...A number of stakeholders have raised concerns with exempting the zoning ordinances specified in this bill from CEQA. They argue that the CEQA exemption in this bill removes the ability of local governments to be fully informed of the ordinanceís potential environmental consequences. Without this review, a local government might not be properly informed of traffic impacts, air impacts, compatible use issues, or other environmental effects. They express concern that bypassing CEQA in this manner could create a liability for decision-makers. They also question whether it is appropriate for the public to live with the results of a zoning ordinance that might not have been fully vetted
The Committee analysis also notes that as written, a city could "zone for up to 10 units of housing on a site that was never planned or zoned for residential use (i.e., commercial, industrial, or agricultural) without any CEQA review of that zoning action. While it is unknown if or how many parcels in transit-rich or jobs rich areas are not already zoned for residential or residential mixed-use development, the Committee may wish to consider the potential outcomes of allowing zoning for up to 10 units of residential density in transit-rich or jobs-rich areas as those terms are defined in this bill."
The Committee analysis also notes that the bill "contains no requirements for affordability of housing that eventually could be built on parcels zoned according to its provisions. Some stakeholders worry that units would all be market-rate and that the bill will do nothing to address California's shortage of affordable housing..." (The American Planning Association, in support of the bill, has encouraged the author to "incorporate equity and affordability provisions, particularly including the clarification that local inclusionary, community benefits requirements, and value capture schemes do not constitute a 'limitation' as used in (SB) 902.")
REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:
SB 902 was introduced on.Jan. 30, 2020. The City of LB took no position on the bill as it advanced. The City Council's "state legislation committee" never discussed SB 902. (It didn't meet on any then-advancing state bills from Dec. 17, 2019 under then-chair Austin with Richardson until June 24, 2020 under new chair Richardson, with Uranga and Austin.) On June 24, the Committee agenda under chair Richardson consisted of "receive and file a report on the California Legislative Black Caucusís 2020 Bill Package," "receive and file report on 2020 State proposals for police reform" and "review the Cityís 2020 Adopted State Legislative Agenda and provide direction for staff to return to the Committee with potential amendments to the 'Public Safety' section."
As SB 902 advanced, any Councilmember could have agendized a City Council item to take a position on the bill. None did.
If SB 902 clears the Assembly Local Government Committee on Aug. 11, it must 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 902. The above article's content is independently produced by LBREPORT.com which is solely responsible for its content.
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