Berkeley News Outlet & SW L.A. Advocacy Group Blast
|(Jan. 8, 2018, 6:45 a.m., updated 11:20 a.m.) -- Although LB's Mayor and Councilmembers have (to our knowledge) remained mum, and as of dawn today (Jan. 8) the PressTelegram and Gazettes haven't reported the story, a Berkeley online news outlet (generally progressive editorially), a grassroots SW L.A. advocacy group and an L.A. Councilman generally progressive in his views have strongly criticized SB 837 introduced last week by state Senator Scott Wiener (D, SF) (co-authored by a pair of Berkeley and SF Assemblymembers) that would override local zoning and mandate allowing denser and taller housing zoning near transit. LBREPORT.com reported the story at this link on Jan. 4),
The Berkeley Daily Planet at this link editorially blasted the bill, saying would destabilize neighborhoods and promote gentrification...and cited data from the SF-Bay Area Anti-Eviction Mapping Project listing contributions to Sen. Wiener from various land use and development-related entities at this link.
SW L.A.'s Crenshaw Subway Coalition at this link calls SB 827 "a Declaration of War on South L.A.," writing "You'll be hard pressed to find a bill in the state legislature proposed by a Democrat that is a bigger threat to the stability of our community than SB 827." As for SB 827's supporters, it dismisses "YIMBY" [Yes in my Backyard] groups as "the very definition of 'astroturf' - fake grassroots organizations backed by a corporate industry."
L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz, quoted in an L.A. Times article here, called the bill "devastating," "insanity" and "the worst idea I've ever heard...I would have a neighborhood with little 1920s, '30s and '40s single-family homes look like Dubai 10 years later," adding "I don't think people want to see significant rezoning around single-family neighborhoods whether they’re near transit or not."
A more positive assessment came in the national outlet Slate.com at this link.
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In 2017, state Sen. Wiener authored SB 35 (enacted into law in 2017), a complex bill detailed by LBREPORT.com here that significantly impacts land use decisionmaking locally. In general terms, in specified circumstances where SB35 applies, it neuters the public's grounds for objecting to a multi-unit housing project's significant impacts under the CA Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), erases city-adopted parking requirements for such developments and substitutes Sacramento standards with minimal or no parking required in some circumstances, and requires City Hall to approve certain multi-unit housing-developer sought projects if they otherwise fit within the maximum allowed objectively stated standards in the City's General Plan (including Land Use Element) or zoning.
Although the Long Beach City Council's "State Legislation Committee" (Austin, Mungo, Gonzalez) sent the City Council a 2017 "State Legislative Agenda" (which the Council voted to approve) which recited that the City would oppose legislation harmful to local control, including on land use matters, the City of Long Beach failed to oppose SB35 and other housing-development related bills (supported by Sacramento Dem-leadership), remaining "neutral" on the legislation with a "watch" position.
State Senator Ricardo Lara (D, LB-Huntington Park), state Senator Janet Nguyen (R, SE LB-west OC) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (NLB-Lakewood-Paramount) voted for SB 35. Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell (D, Long Beach-San Pedro) was one of a handful of Democrats who voted "no" on SB35 although he supported other bills in the Dem leadership-backed housing package.
While SB 35 and other land use impacting bills advanced to enactment, LB city staff simultaneously advanced a density-promoting Land Use Element (LUE) revision without publicly discussing the advancing bills' impacts on the LUE's proposed changes. The LUE, with accompanying density increase maps and an Urban Design Element, is now expected to reach the Council for voted direction in the coming weeks and months.
SB 827 specifies the following:
SB 827 goes on to state:
(b) Notwithstanding any local ordinance, general plan element, specific plan, charter, or other local law, policy, resolution, or regulation, a transit-rich housing project shall receive a transit-rich housing bonus which shall exempt the project from all of the following:
SB 827's full text as introduced is visible at this link.
On December 13, 2017, Sen. Wiener wrote the following on his Facebook page:
We need to do better building housing that is neither high-rise nor extreme low density (like single family) - basically, smaller apartment buildings in what are currently low density areas. This "missing middle" housing makes a big difference - allowing lower-cost density near transit while retaining a neighborhood's human scale. Smart zoning adjustments to low-density neighborhoods to allow this kind of housing will go a long way toward making housing more affordable and sustainable. [Comemnts on a
Text and link to Slate.com article added at 11:20 a.m. Jan. 8
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