June 23 Update on state bills

Update by Hydee Hydee R Feldstein – sent via email

Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development:
1. SB 592: OPPOSE by this Wednesday June 26 at noon.
Hearing July 3, 2019 at 9:15 am State Capitol Room 126. This is the first gut and amend where Wiener gutted the barbershop law and converted it into the 1st part of SB 50 and a mini-version of some of SB 330’s provisions. THIS BILL HAS JUMPED AHEAD AND IS NECK AND NECK WITH SB 330. Please call, submit position letter, write and email and do as much as we did with SB 50.
THE SINGLE BIGGEST PROBLEM IS THE ADDITION OF section 65589.5(j)(1)(B) which MAKES DISCRETIONARY APPROVALS AND VARIANCES OBTAINABLE “BY RIGHT” BY A HOUSING DEVELOPMENT PROJECT. By saying thatany general plan, zoning or subdivision standard is inapplicable if the city “could” approve the housing project without meeting the standard, this language suspends every other regulation related to zoning, planning, design and subdivision standards in favor of density in those jurisdictions where an applicant can initiate a discretionary process for a variance or a conditional use permit.
The definition of “housing development project” in SB 592 allows ALL nonresidential uses in residential neighborhoods, provides a “a single unit” the benefits of multifamily housing development projects (eg without a defintion of “density, this could be read as permitting McMansions statewide) and without explanation or any basis prohibits the regulation of the number of bedrooms in any project. These issues are clearly matters for local control and there is no state interest or rational basis for Sacramento to be legislating what is or is not appropriate in a “single unit” project.
The new definition prohibiting “conditions that have the same effect or impact on the ability of the housing development project to provide housing now specifically includes a prohibition on reducing the number of bedrooms and “the substantial impairment of the housing development project’s economic viability” is absurd — good planning and zoning necessarily makes some types of projects not feasible in some areas (eg a residential hotel with a restaurant/bar and a cannabis facility in a residential area zone) and Sacramento should not be in the business of legalizing commercial uses statewide or regulating the number or size or bedrooms statewide.
SB 592 voids limits on “density” yet fails to include a definition of “density”. The bill requires approval despite increases in density but does not define density. Needs definition which should be “an increase in the number of housing units built as part of a multifamily residential housing development project that otherwise complies with all general plan, zoning ordinances and regulations, use proscriptions, design critera and subdivision standards.”
SB 592 also adds a claim for compensatory damages in favor of developers against our cities and counties. That is a big deal and really objectionable.
SB 592 and SB 330 BOTH will impose substantial costs on our cities and counties in the way of services, infrastructure upgrades and other personnel to handle the increased density mandated.

Assembly Committee on Local Government: https://alcl.assembly.ca.gov/
2. SB 330 – Not yet scheduled for hearing and full amendments are not yet published but we need to be emailing and calling every day as we did with SB 50 to oppose on at least at least the following grounds:
THERE SHOULD BE NO RETROACTIVE invalidation of local plans and laws to 1/1/18. Please please object really strongly on this ground. The retroactive provisions could have all kinds of devastating and unintended consequences.
Object to concept of “occupied substandard building” still in the bill. In response to our objection to slumlord tactics, the Senator changed the word “shall” to the word “may” so that cities and counties are no longer REQUIRED to tolerate 7 year building code violations. But that is NOT enough. Leaving a 7 year dereliction in the statute is still condoning even if not requiring slumlord and shady developer tactics. Sacramento should not be putting its stamp of approval, whether permissively or mandatorily, on these tactics.
The definition of “housing development project” to pick up nonresidential uses in residential neighborhoods and homeless shelters and transitional housing on a statewide basis is unacceptable. Yes we need shelters, no the state should not be creating a use definition that allows a private for-profit developer to decide where to put up a shelter or a mixed use project in residential areas not otherwise zoned locally for these uses.
SB 330 needs to expressly allow for the assessment and imposition of impact fees, linkage charges and connection fees AFTER the preliminary application has been filed because that is the ONLY time those fees can be assessed.
SB 330 needs to honor all underlying zoning and regulation by local authorities
PLEASE OBJECT STRONGLY – the amendments did not fix the problems.

Assembly Committee on Elections and Redistricting: https://aelc.assembly.ca.gov/committeehome
3. SB 268 OPPOSE by this Wednesday June 26 at noon. Hearing: July 3, 2019. This was the second gut and amend courtesy of Senator Wiener. It reduces transparency of ballot measures and removes language requiring all bonds issued by any local agency to be voter-approved.

Senate Committee on Government and Finance: https://sgf.senate.ca.gov/
4. AB 1487 (Chiu): PLEASE OPPOSE THIS ONE STRONGLY. This is the bill that sets up a shadow government of appointees (half appointed by the transit authority) that can levy taxes and spend the revenue without any accountability to the electorate in the Bay Area. This not only destroys the Bay Area Zoning and starves the city and county of revenue, it also is the template to turn the rest of the state into a zoning version of Soylent Green.

5. AB 587 (Friedland): This would have permitted the sale or conveyance of an ADU separately from the primary residence. This bill was amended in committee to remove the state wide mandate and to simply provide that a city or county may so provide by local ordinance if it wishes to do so. That removed the primary objection but the full text of the bill as amended in the Senate has not yet been published so I really do not know what it says. It is supposed to be scheduled for hearing before this Committee but from the action last week by the
Committee on Govt Modernization, Efficiency, and Accountability, I am concerned that it may simply pass as part of the consent calendar and go to the floor for a vote. It is difficult to oppose if all it says is that a local agency can enact an ordinance permitting a separate sale. I do not plan to submit anything on this bill at this time.

6. AB 1763 (Chiu): Not yet set for hearing. This will be before governance and finance. It has twice been amended in the Senate and STILL INCREASES THE STATE DENSITY BONUSES JUST EFFECTIVE 1/1/2018. For affordable housing projects (100% affordable at least 80% lower income and remaining 20% moderate income or less):
NO density maximums
UP TO 4, instead of 3, “incentives” within 1/2 mile of transit or bus;
The height of an affordable project is now an increase “by right” up to 2 or 3 additional stories. This means height will no longer an “incentive” since it is “by right” in this bill for increases of up to (a) 2 additional stories or 22 feet within 1/2 mile of “a high quality transit corridor” (without requiring that it be 1/2 mile of a stop on a transit corridor) or (b) 3 additional stories or up to an additional 33 feet within 1/2 mile of rail or ferry);
The FAR of an affordable project is now an increase “by right” up to 55% increase in FAR or 4.25 FAR whichever is GREATER. So FAR up to that size will no longer “count” as an incentive.
THIS BILL NEEDS A COST ANALYSIS for city services and infrastructure.
Senate Committee on Environmental Quality:Position letters are emailed to both:
Committee Assistant Mimi.H…@sen.ca.gov
Republican Consultant Scott….@sen.ca.gov

7. AB 1279 (Bloom): upzones single family to 4plex. Not yet set for hearing. OPPOSE

8. AB 68 (Ting) ADU bill referred to Senate Committee on Environmental Quality not yet set for hearing. OPPOSE

9. PLEASE Support AB 1788 (Bloom). It seems to be having trouble getting out of committees due to the pesticide lobby. It passed environmental quality committee last week but was re-referred to the Natural Resources and Water Committee which has not yet scheduled it for hearing. However since this committee requires position letters at lease 7 business days in advance, we should get our support in asap by submitting a position letter here: https://sntr.senate.ca.gov/content/position-letters . In a nutshell, this bill should be a no-brainer to ban the rat poisons that (a) have been shown to have disastrous effects on wildlife (the predators who eat rats (raptors like owls, falcons, hawks, eagles and condors, mountain lions and bobcats) die from eating poisoned rats, reducing the number of predators, increasing the number of rats, leading to more poison, you get it; (b) put kids and pets at real risk; and (c) increasingly have been showing up in our waters — oceans and rivers and sea and river wildlife.The pest control industry has seized on recent news stories about rats in LA to stall the bill as it was about to succeed, which of course is nonsense. There are rats in every city and on every farm worldwide — they are looking for food. Rat control is a question of trash collection, anti-dumping enforcement, trapping and a healthy ecosystem with predators that can catch and eat rats without risking their own lives.

Other Bills of Interest:

10. AB 516 (Chiu): This one is new to me. A police officer spoke about it at a recent neighborhood council meeting. It amends the Vehicle Code to remove the ability of peace officers to (a) immobilize a vehicle (eg no wheel clamps), and (b) removes the ability to impound a vehicle that has not moved for 72 hours or more. This bill was amended i the Senate so that now the car can be impounded but only after ANOTHER 10 business days beyond the date that the peace officer has left a notice on the windshield that the vehicle will be impounded if not moved. I just do not have time to do a thorough job on this one but please know that LAPD officers with lots of experience are dead against it saying it could turn our streets into car parks.

11. SB 212 (Allen). SB 212’s provisions have to do with the creation of a ranked choice voting system applicable in general law cities and unincorporated areas. I just note the bill because I know many elected and appointed officials are interested in the topic but I have not analyzed the bill and leave that task to someone else.

12. SB 235 (Dodd): For anyone who thought spotzoning for a particular project was not really in vogue in Sacramento, take a look at SB 235 regarding the “Napa Pipe” project. I have no idea what it is and whether it is a good project or a bad project but how can Sacramento ever claim that something like this is a general law?

13. SB 50 (Wiener): Last amended on June 4 and had its second reading that day. So although this was referred back to Appropriations, it is still very much a live bill and ready to be voted on the Senate Floor if passed by Appropriations.

The following bills have passed (or effectively passed) out of committee and are headed to the Senate floor for a third reading and a vote:

14. AB 670 (Friedland): invalidates all covenants, deed restrictions or any other provisions in planned communities or other common interest developments that would “effectively prohibit” or “unreasonably restrict the construction or use” of an ADU or a junior ADU on a single family zoned lot.

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