Density Watch: Ass'y Local Gov't Committee Votes 5-1 (with two not voting) To Advance SB 9 Enabling Four Residences on Single Family Home Lots
Exempts "historic districts," doesn't require add'l parking for new units within half mile of "high quality" public transit)
|(June 10, 2021, 7:45 a.m.) -- With Long Beach's policy-setting City Councilmembers continuing to remain silent, a number of Long Beach residents voiced opposition telephonicaly in an Assembly Committee hearing on SB 9, a bill co-authored by (former LB Councilmember) state Senator Lena Gonzalez (D, LB-SE LA County) that would require cities statewide to allow (except for historic districts) up to four dwelling units on single family home lots and forbid City Halls from requiring additional parking for the new units within a half mile of "high quality" public transit.
SB 9 enables single family lot splits and two dwelling units on the split lots. Some opponents of SB 9 (including Livable California statewide) say the number could reach eight dwelling units per parcel through a legalistic use of ADUs.
The June 9 vote by the Assembly's Local Government Committee (Dem majority, no LB reps) was 5-1, with two Dem members (who were physically present voting "no vote recorded") advances SB 9 to the Assembly's Housing & Community Dev'ment Committee (Dem majority, no LB reps.)
A number of Long Beach homeowners, including Eastside Voice president Corliss Lee, veteran community advocate Ann Cantrell, and WLB community advocate John Taeleifi voiced their opposition in telephonic Committee testimony. Also speaking in opposition were Bill Shelton, Kelly Cusack and an Eastside voice member (a woman, name spelling uncertain.)
One speaker from "Long Beach YIMBY" (part of "Yes in my Backyard" groups statewide) spoke in support of SB 9.
As is common in Sacramento proceedings, the Committee chair limited public speakers to stating their name, group and position (support or opposed.) The chair limited time for each side's total speakers to 15 minutes each; the time expired with a number of SB 9 opponents left unable to speak.
Long Beach residents remain mindful of the City's history of enabling developer-driven "crackerbox" apartment density, criticized in recent years for destabilizing former single family home neighborhoods in and around downtown and leaving those neighborhoods chronically parking impacted. SB 9 would allow (except for "historic districts") single family property owners to increase single family neighborhood density parcel by parcel.
In late May, SB 9 passed the state Senate with "yes" votes by LB's two state Senators: SB 9 co-author Gonzalez and state Senator Tom Umberg (D, SE LB-west OC.) While Gonzalez is safely in office until 2024, Umberg's vote for Sacramento enabled single family neighborhood density could affect homeowner votes in his low density suburban LB zip code 90815 (seeking re-election in 2022.)
The Council has basically allowed SB 9a to complete over half of its Sacramento legislative proceedings with no opposition by the CIty of Long Beach.
With City Hall silent (and no check-and-balance opposition from LB's Republican party, opposition fell to independent Democrats organized by Corliss Lee (president The Eastside Voice.) On June 8, Ms. Lee telephonically blasted LB Councilmembers for failing to oppose (or even discuss) SB 9. To hear her June 8 Council testimony (during public comment on non-agendized items) click here.
As reported by LBREPORT.com, state Senator Gonzalez's office presented and then failed to webpost for on-demand access a June 11 Zoom meeting with ELB "Rancho" neighborhood residents (monitored by LBREPORT.com) in which she tried to downplay her bill's impacts. Roughly two weeks later and days before the state Senate vote on SB 9, Gonzalez's office offered Ranchos residents written responses to questions she didn't answer in her Zoom meeting and suggested the homeowner group not share the offered written responses with press outlets. LBREPORT.com obtained the written responses and has asked Gonzalez's office who wrote them (the journalistic "who" of the story); Sen. Gonzalez's office hasn't responded.
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