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    Governor Vetoes AB 2702, Killing Bill That Would Have Made It Harder For Cities To Stop Second Units on Single Residential Lots Learns Councilman O'Donnell & LB City Staff Met w/ Gov's Staff in Mid-Sept. To Reiterate LB Opposition To Bill

    (September 30, 2004) -- Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed AB 2702, a bill opposed by LB City Hall and over 100 CA cities, that would have restricted cities' ability to limit second units on single residential lots. posts the Governor's veto message below. has also learned that on September 16, 4th district Councilman Patrick O'Donnell and LB city staff travelled to Sacramento to meet with staff of the Governor's office and reiterate City of LB opposition to the bill based on its preemption of local authority and "one size fits all" approach. Also attending the meeting were representatives of the cities of Santa Monica and El Segundo.

    AB 2702 was backed by the CA Association of Realtors but opposed by the League of CA Cities and over 100 CA cities.

    On August 25, the Assembly approved final Senate amendments to the bill on a 50-22 vote with LB area Assemblywoman Jenny Oropeza voting "yes" and Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-SP-PV) recorded as "absent, abstaining or not voting" after voting "yes" on the bill in May.

    AB 2702 earlier cleared the state Senate on a 23-7 with state Senator Betty Karnette voting "no" on the floor and previously in a state Committee.

    Governor Schwarzenegger issued the following message in vetoing AB 2702:

    To the Members of the California State Assembly:

    I am returning Assembly Bill 2702 without my signature.

    This bill establishes more detailed standards regarding the development of second unit housing in California. One provision specifically restricts local governments from requiring a second unit floor space to be less than 550 square feet. This creates a one-size fits all approach to second units being built in local neighborhoods.

    This bill limits the say of local governments, homeowners, and local communities regarding second units being constructed in their neighborhoods. In effect, this bill dictates unilateral decisions by the state regarding what type of development is appropriate for local communities without any community participation.

    As a strong proponent of local control, I believe that government is most responsive and accountable to people when it is close to the people. This bill removes that control away from local officials, where homeowners and residents can voice their concerns about their neighborhoods and moves it to a state bureaucracy in Sacramento.

    Additionally, with the unanticipated growth from second units on single family properties, this bill does not take into consideration the impact and ability for local governments to provide adequate water, sewer and schools.

    My Administration is very aware of the lack of affordable housing facing California. At the beginning of my Administration, I asked the Secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency to pursue an aggressive agenda into finding ways of increasing home ownership opportunities for all Californians. I encourage all housing advocates and local governments to work with the Secretary to implement this agenda making the American Dream more affordable and available to our citizens.

    For these reasons I am unable to support this bill.


    Arnold Schwarzenegger

    Density is an especially sore point in LB, following a 1980s City Council action that increased density in central city areas and brought "crackerbox" apartments that contributed to destabilizing single family neighborhoods with impacts felt citywide.

    As previously reported by, on August 4, LB City Manager Jerry Miller submitted a letter opposing AB 2702 on behalf of the City of Long Beach. Addressed to the bill's author, Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg (D., Sacramento), the City of LB letter stated in part:

    ...Though we acknowledge your courage fight for affordable housing, we do not believe AB 2702 is the way to come about this change.

    Rather than encourage local, balanced, planned patterns of development that respects local land use priorities outlined in the General Plan, AB 2702 simply imposes a one-size-fits-all approach to second unit development on every community in the state.

    AB 2702 mandates standards that have proven unacceptable to the residents of single-family housing. AB 2702 will limit local ability to prohibit absentee-landlord duplexes to be created in single-family neighborhoods, create a substantial problem with parking for the residents, dictate irrational minimum lot and unit sizes regardless of lot dimensions, and lead to a decrease in property value.

    For these reasons, we oppose AB 2702 and strongly urge you to reconsider this bill...

    LB City Hall's letter opposing AB 2702 was cc'd to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, State Senator Betty Karnette (D., LB) and State Senator Ed Vincent.

    AB 2702's supporters and opponents, listed in an August state Senate legislative analysis were:

    SUPPORT:   (Verified  8/18/04)
              California Association of Realtors (co-source)
              California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (co-source)
              Western Center on Law and Poverty (co-source)
              Agora Group, Goleta
              American Association of Retired Persons, California
              Barbara Sanders and Associates, Oakland
              Beacon Housing, Los Angeles
              Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Los Angeles
              Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation, Saticoy
              California Affordable Housing Law Project, Oakland
              California Apartment Association
              California Church Impact, Sacramento
              California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
              California Legislative Council of Older Americans, San
              California Partnership, Downey
              California Reinvestment Coalition, San Francisco
              Center for Community Advocacy, Salinas
              Central City SRO Collaborative, San Francisco
              Chicano Consortium, Sacramento
              Civic Center Barrio Housing Corporation, Santa Ana
              Coalition for Economic Survival, Los Angeles
              Community Housing Improvement, Chico
              Congregations Building Community, Modesto
              Council of Churches of Santa Clara County, Cupertino
              East Palo Alto Council of Tenants Education Fund
              Emergency Housing Consortium, San Jose
              Enterprise Foundation, Los Angeles
              Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, Los Angeles
              Fair Housing Council of Riverside County
              Father Joe's Villages, San Diego
              First Community Housing, San Jose
              Fisher Sehgal Yanez Architects, Inc., Los Angeles
              Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries
              Fresno West Coalitions for Economic Development
              Golden State Mobilehome Owners League, Chapter 24, East
              Palo Alto
              Gray Panthers California
              Greenlining Institute, Oakland
              Hillview Mental Health Center, Inc., Pacoima
              Housing California
              Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County, Redwood
              Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco
              Human Rights/Fair Housing Commission, Sacramento
              Inclusive Homes Inc., Los Angeles
              Inquilinos Unidos, Los Angeles
              Jericho La Raza Centro Legal, Inc., San Francisco
              Loaves and Fishes, Sacramento
              Los Angeles Housing Law Project
              Los Angeles Housing Partnership, Inc.
              Mental Health Advocacy Services, Inc., Los Angeles
              Mid-Peninsula Housing Coalition, Redwood City
              Neighborhood Housing Services of Orange County and Inland
              New Directions, Inc., Los Angeles
              Opportunities for Neighborhood Empowerment Company, Inc.,
              Los Angeles
              Orange County Community Housing Corporation, Santa Ana
              Partners in Housing, Inc., Ventura
              People of Progress, Redding
              Planning for Elders, San Francisco
              Protection and Advocacy, Inc., Sacramento
              Public Advocates, Inc., San Francisco
              Public Law Center, Santa Ana
              Rubicon Programs, Inc., Richmond
              Rural Communities Housing Development Corporation, Ukiah
              Renee Franken and Associates, Inc., Carmichael
              Sacramento Neighborhood Housing Services
              San Francisco Homeless Senior Task Force
              Santa Cruz Affordable Housing Advocates
              Senior Action Network, San Francisco
              Shelter Inc of Contra Costa County, Martinez
              Shelter Partnership, Inc., Los Angeles
              Skid Row Housing Trust, Los Angeles
              Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing, Los
              Angeles Southern California Housing Development
              Corporation, Rancho Cucamonga Southern California Indian
              Center, Inc., Fountain Valley
              Strategic Actions For A Just Economy, Los Angeles
              Tenderloin Housing Clinic, San Francisco
              Valley Housing Foundation, Pacoima
              Vietnam Veterans of California - Sacramento Veterans
              Resource Center Women Organizing Resources, Knowledge and
              Services, Los Angeles
              West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation
              WRJ Group, Inc., Fountain Valley
              OPPOSITION :    (Verified  8/24/04)
              American Planning Association, California Chapter
              California State Association of Counties
              City of Atherton
              City of Bellflower
              City of Brea
              City of Concord
              City of Culver City
              City of Daly City
              City of Elk Grove
              City of Hercules
              City of Lafayette
              City of Lakewood
              City of Moreno Valley
              City of Napa
              City of Palos Verdes Estates
              City of Rancho Cucamonga
              City of Roseville
              City of San Jose
              City of San Luis Obispo
              City of San Mateo
              City of Santa Monica
              City of Seal Beach
              City of Thousand Oaks
              City of Walnut Creek
              Independent Cities Association
              League of California Cities
              Sierra Club
              South Bay Cities Council of Governments
              Town of Atherton

    On its web site, the CA Association of Realtors stated in support of the bill:

    Enacted two-decades ago, the [current CA] second-unit law has not lived up to its potential due, in part, to unreasonable obstacles imposed by local governments. To encourage the development of such units, C.A.R. successfully co-sponsored AB 1866 (Wright) in 2002, which stated that a second-unit building permit must be approved without a hearing if the proposal complies with all of the local government’s development requirements. However, AB 1866 did not address specifically what reasonable standards local governments may apply to second units -- causing local governments to become creative and restrictive with their new "ministerial" guidelines in order to force a hearing for such additions or to effectively prohibit the construction of new second units.

    To counteract this problem, this bill will specify that local governments cannot adopt ordinances that have the practical effect of barring second units from a community. The bill is aimed at preventing arbitrary restrictions that are meant to make it exceedingly difficult to put such units on a property. If approved, this legislation will continue to allow communities the flexibility to design guidelines and zoning code requirements that are appropriate for their neighborhoods, while at the same time, and perhaps most importantly, allowing property owners the ability to build units that are sufficient in size for their needs and aesthetically pleasing -- without encroaching on the privacy of other property owners.

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