Why A Laundromat Might be Considered ‘Historic’

By Joe Kukura : sfweekly – excerpt

A large housing project is delayed because a laundromat is being considered a “historic resource,” so we looked to see if this claim holds any water.

Some San Franciscans’ eyeballs were rolling on spin cycle last week when a 75-unit housing development was delayed four months, so the Board of Supervisors could consider whether the Wash Club laundromat (above) should be considered a “historic resource.” How in the heck could a laundromat constitute a valuable piece of San Francisco history? Why is the history of a laundromat holding up a development project in the midst of a housing crisis? SF Weekly dug through documents submitted to the Planning Commission, to iron out why a laundromat is being evaluated for possible historic significance… (more)

The arguments for historical significance are not what you would expect, but, are indicative of the creative minds working to preserve the SF Mission District for existing residents and businesses. The residents of the Mission stress quality of life over quantity of housing units.

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Housing bill could result in 85-foot tall buildings on El Camino

By Elaine Goodman : dailypost – excerpt

A bill introduced in the California Legislature would ease restrictions on housing projects built near transit — bypassing some of the controls over such development by the cities in which they would be built.

Senate Bill 827, introduced last month by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would remove density limits and parking requirements for housing built close to transit.

It would also set minimum height limits that cities could impose for such development, ranging from 45 feet to 85 feet in some circumstances. A city could increase that height but not go below it…

According to Wiener’s website, the bill is sponsored by a group called California YIMBY, which stands for “Yes in my backyard.”….

City governments oppose the bill

The League of California Cities opposes SB 827, saying it would undermine locally developed general plans (called the Comp Plan in Palo Alto), housing plans and development restrictions… (more)

Opposition from irate citizens around the state convinced the senator to amend SB827, but Many people object to any further interference from the state in local zoning and planning matters under local jurisdiction. Stay tuned for updates as more bills are pouring in. (Technically, the 85 foot buildings could be over 100 feet if the state density bonus is applied to the 85 feet.)

Lawsuit blocks Measure B funds

Local transit projects delayed by legal challenge

Santa Clara County’s new Measure B sales tax has already collected tens of millions of dollars for a multitude of transportation upgrades, but that money is now embargoed from being spent.

An appellate lawsuit filed by Mountain View attorney Gary Wesley on behalf of Saratoga resident Cheriel Jensen is blocking the Valley Transportation Authority from spending any of the $6.5 billion in revenues expected to come from the new tax. For local communities, this means a series of crucial projects — such as plan for Caltrain grade separation and new bikeways — could be on hold for up to two years before the suit is resolved.

The suit seeks to dismantle the sales tax by arguing that the language of Measure B was overly broad and lacked specifics as to how the money would be spent…

Prior to the election, the sales tax raised some political controversy, especially in the northern areas of the county. Elected officials from Palo Alto, Mountain View and other neighboring cities complained that San Jose officials held too much sway on the VTA board. A coalition of nine cities demanded restrictions on how the money would be spent, particularly on how much would be spent bringing a BART extension to San Jose…(more)

Huge delta plan for moving water cut to just 1 tunnel

California water officials announced Wednesday that a plan to build two giant tunnels for moving water supplies across the state was being reduced to a single, less costly underpass — at least initially — a setback for one of Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature projects.

The director of the Department of Water Resources said the long-sought $17 billion twin tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta did not have sufficient financial support from the water agencies that ultimately have to shoulder the bill.

An alternative single tunnel, which would traverse the same 35-mile course as the original proposal and similarly transport water from Northern California’s plentiful Sacramento River to drier points in the south, would come with a smaller price tag of $10.7 billion, according to the state. It would also carry just two-thirds as much water… (more)

Proposed CEQA Guideline for Highway Projects Promises Flexibility In the Measurement of Traffic Impacts, But Delivers Ambiguity

By: Robert D. Thornton, Benjamin Z. Rubin, Liz Klebaner : 

In response to material opposition from many of the transportation agencies in the State, the California Natural Resources Agency  has proposed to provide transportation agencies with the discretion to determine the metric for evaluating traffic impacts of highways and road projects.  Unfortunately, instead of putting the issue to bed, the proposed regulation introduces considerable ambiguity that will likely lead to a CEQA challenge if any project EIR relies solely on Level of Service (LOS) to evaluate the significance of traffic impacts.  The proposed regulation states:

For roadway capacity projects, agencies have discretion to determine the appropriate measure of transportation impact consistent with CEQA and other applicable requirements. 

The language “consistent with CEQA and other applicable requirements” arguably creates ambiguity as to whether transportation agencies may rely solely on measures of traffic congestion such as LOS to determine the significance of traffic impacts, or whether the State’s climate change legislation mandates a “Vehicle Miles Traveled” (VMT) analysis.

As we have previously reported, the proposed SB 743 implementing regulation represents a paradigm shift in the evaluation of transportation impacts of road and development projects, by replacing the traffic congestion-based LOS metric with the VMT metric.  With VMT, the very acts of driving a vehicle or inducing vehicle travel by improving roadway infrastructure is an environmental impact requiring analysis and potentially mitigation.  The proposed regulation generally removes traffic congestion from the required scope of a CEQA impacts analyses… (more)

SF public defenders to challenge ‘conservative’ judges in June election

By Michael Barba : sfexaminer – excerpt

Four San Francisco public defenders are seeking to oust Republican-appointed local judges in the June election who they say are too conservative to continue sitting on the bench.

Niki Solis, Kwixuan Maloof, Phoenix Streets and Maria Evangelista are all longtime attorneys with the Public Defender’s Office. Each filed paperwork on Wednesday declaring their intent to run for different judicial seats in San Francisco Superior Court that often head to the polls without contest.

“Even though San Francisco is supposed to be one of the most liberal cities in this country, the bench is not representative of San Francisco,” Maloof said. “Racism is still very strong in the San Francisco Superior Courts.”…(more)

Autonomous vehicles in the spotlight – drivers and manufacturers on autopilot?

Scott Wiener’s war on local planning

By Zelda Bronstein : 48hills – excerpt

His next round of housing bills force cities to accept growth and displacement—without giving them the money or tools to mitigate it

On January 19, I attended UCLA Extension’s 2018 Land Use Law and Planning Conference at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Seated in long rows of tables under the glittering chandeliers of the hotel’s Crystal Ballroom, hundreds of elected and appointed public officials, developers, attorneys, and consultants are annually briefed by sharp pro-growth land-use lawyers and other like-minded experts on the latest California land-use legislation and case law.

This year the star of the show was State Senator Scott Wiener. He earned that role by authoring SB 35, the controversial “by-right” housing bill that Governor Brown signed into law in September. Like his fellow Yimbys, Wiener believes in a supply-side, build-baby-build solution to California’s housing woes and blames those woes on local jurisdictions’ resistance to new residential development. He presents himself as a brave policymaker who grapples with hard issues that others have dodged—an image belied by his evasive responses to my questions…

SB 827

Drafted by California Yimby Executive Director Brian Hanlon, and coauthored by State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), SB 827 would prohibit cities from limiting heights to lower than 45 feet (six stories) or 85 feet (eight stories)—depending on the width of the street—on parcels within a half-mile of a “major transit stop” or a quarter-mile of “a high-quality transit corridor.” For such parcels, SB 827 would also suspend local parking minimums, density restrictions, and “any design standard that restricts the applicant’s ability to construct the maximum number of units consistent with any applicable building code.”…

SB 828

Wiener’s companion bill, SB 828, would exponentially increase both cities’ Regional Housing Needs Allocations (RHNAs) and state authority over local land use planning. I’m going to review the bill in wonky detail, because though SB 827 has gotten the lion’s share of publicity, support, and pushback, SB 828 is likely to have at least as much impact… (more)

Lots of details are covered in the article. Please read the entire story.

We attended the Town Hall Meeting, along with a group of citizens from Marin and Senator Wiener’s district 8 Noe Valley neighborhood. We’ll post a link to the video that was shot of the meeting, and anticipate more from Zelda on this subject.

A lively opposition group is already being formed to fight this legislation that grabs power from local governments and centralizes controls over local zoning. Many people who support development do not support this power grab from the state.

Opposition to Wiener’s SB 827 is growing as more people learn about his DANGEROUS NEW LEGISLATION!

Urgent Alert – Senator Scott Wiener’s proposed legislation, Senate Bill 827, stands to up-zone ALL of San Francisco:

It would allow development in “transit-rich” areas
to go up from 40 feet to 55 feet and even 85 feet in many areas!

Virtually all San Francisco neighborhoods qualify as “transit-rich.”
See for yourself here.

Imagine buildings almost twice as high as they are now along Dolores Street and possibly Church Street.  Imagine adding several stories to buildings on more narrow streets like 24th Street or Elizabeth Street.  Imagine not being able to argue against these behemoths.  Imagine more evictions to make way for development.

S.B. 827 does nothing to help San Francisco’s housing problem.  It’s just another bonus to developers without any increase in affordable units.
Senator Wiener, will hold a Town Hall meeting on this coming Saturday, February 3, 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at the Taraval Police Station.  Be there to tell him:
We still live here!
Don’t threaten our homes and our neighborhood!
Don’t evict our tenants!
No more give-aways to developers!
You also can call his office at (415) 557-1300 or email to http://sd11.senate.ca.gov/contact to voice your opposition.
Please join us in standing up for our neighborhood.
We’ll see you there!

My Transit Density Bill (SB 827)

By Scott Wienermarketurbanismreport – excerpt

Answering Common Questions and Debunking Misinformation A summary of California’s SB827, which will allow more housing near transit corridors.

Our recent announcement of my bill (Senate Bill 827) allowing for more housing near public transportation has drawn a lot of attention, questions, and feedback. Sadly, some have also spread misinformation about the bill. This piece attempts to answer common questions and debunk misinformation.

California is in a deep housing crisis — threatening our state’s environment, economy, diversity, and quality of life — and needs an enormous amount of additional housing at all income levels. Mid-rise housing (i.e., not single-family homes and not high rises) near public transportation is an equitable, sustainable, and promising source for new housing. SB 827 promotes this kind of housing by prohibiting density restrictions (for example, local ordinances mandating only single-family homes) within a half mile of a major transit station or a quarter mile of a bus stop on a frequent bus line. The bill also sets the maximum zoned height in these areas at 45, 55, or 85 feet — that is, between 4 and 8 stories— depending on the nature of the street. (Those heights are maximums. Developers can choose to build shorter, but cities can’t force them to build shorter through restrictive zoning. Cities can allow taller heights, however.)… (more)

Upcoming events will give you a chance to let the Senator know how you feel about this bill and his work on removing local zoning jurisdiction on land use and transportation issues. Stay tuned…