Gov. Newsom + Sac'to Dem Legislative Leaders Agree To Advance Sweeping Bill Empowering State To Sue/Courts To Fine Cities That Don't Meet Sac'to Standards On Housing Plans, Offers State Taxpayer Dollars To Cities That Adopt "Prohousing" Increased Density/Less Parking And Allows Major Homeless Facilities "By Right" In Some Neighborhoods. It Runs Counter To LB Council-Stated Policies On Local Control
(July 1, 2019, 7:15 a.m.) -- On Thursday June 27, Governor Newsom emerged from a meeting with state Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D, San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D, NLB-Paramount) to announce their agreement to advance SB 102 with newly added, highly impactful amendments.
With those amendments (agreed to by Sac'to Dem legislative leaders as part of their approval of a 2019-2020 CA state budget), SB 102 would reduce the rights of cities and their residents to decide local housing plans, offers state taxpayer dollars to cities that allow increased housing density with less parking, and enables siting major homeless facilities "by right" in some neighborhoods.
City of Long Beach-stated policy, approved by the LB City Council as part of the City's 2019 "state legislative agenda," is to oppose Sac'to legislation that diminishes or preempts local control. What actions, if any, the City plans to take regarding SB 102 remain to be seen.
Gov. Newsom has described SB 102 as amended a "carrot and stick" approach. It would subject cities to state lawsuits and fines if they don't meet Sacramento-decided standards in planning for new housing. It offers cities state tax dollars if they adopt what it calls "prohousing local policies" that enable higher density housing developments and reduced parking requirements. It makes it easier to build large homeless facilities ("Low Barrier Navigation Centers") by preventing residents from filing CEQA appeals of the facilities' impacts. And it promotes affordable (below market/subsidized) housing and homeless facilities by allocating state taxpayer dollars to do so.
As a "stick," SB 102 explicitly empowers the state Attorney General to sue cities, and courts to fine cities if the court finds a city's housing plan doesn't meet Sacramento-decided standards. After six months of fines, the court could take over the city's control of its housing plans. Threatening cities with litigation is consistent with Gov. Newsom's action earlier this year in supporting a state lawsuit against the City of Huntington Beach (a charter city like Long Beach) that a state agency alleges (and the City of Huntington Beach denies) has failed to zone sufficient areas for housing.
As a "carrot," SB 102 offers to reward cities that enact "prohousing local policies" that "facilitate the planning, approval, or construction of housing" with:
[Scroll down for further.]
Regarding homeless issues, SB 102 enables "by right" in certain areas major homeless facilities dubbed "Low Barrier Navigation Centers" that proponents say connect temporarily homeless persons with permanent housng and services. (In normally tolerant San Francisco, a proposed "Navigation Center" recently drew fierce opposition when City officials sited it next to SF's Embarcadero.)
SB 102 [Legislative Counsel's digest text]
...would require that a Low Barrier Navigation Center development be a use by right, as defined, in areas zoned for mixed uses and nonresidential zones permitting multifamily uses if it meets specified requirements. The bill would define "Low Barrier Navigation Center" as a Housing First, low-barrier, service-enriched shelter focused on moving people into permanent housing that provides temporary living facilities while case managers connect individuals experiencing homelessness to income, public benefits, health services, shelter, and housing. The bill would define the term "use by right" in this context to mean that the local government's review of the Low Barrier Navigation Center development may not impose certain requirements, such as a conditional use permit or other discretionary review or approval. The bill would provide that CEQA does not apply to an action taken by a public agency to lease, convey, or encumber land owned by a public entity or to facilitate the lease, conveyance, or encumbrance of land owned by a public agency, or to provide financial assistance to, or otherwise approve, a Low Barrier Navigation Center constructed or allowed by this bill.
SB 102 previously passed the state Senate and with newly added amendments is now in the Assembly committee process. After an Assembly vote, it will return to the state Senate for concurrence in amendments.
In February 2019, amid controversy over his stance supporting state lawsuits against cities that don't meet Sacramento standards in planning for new housing, Gov. Newsom came to Long Beach, toured the WLB Cabrillo affordable housing development alongside Mayor Robert Garcia and praised the facility. Mayor Garcia.has publicly supported Gov.Newsom's stance on suing cities on housing related matters and, along with the City Council, has conspicuously declined to support Huntington Beach (which is defending local control.)
In late 2018, the LB's policy-setting City Council voted to adopt a 2019 "State Legislative Agenda" that includes the following as policies of the City of Long Beach:
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