California Communities consider legislation to protect renters

As the deadline for a number of renter protection laws draws near, communities around the state have considered enacting emergency protective measures to stop no-fault and other retaliatory evictions from being rushed through the courts Tenants Together put out this list of articles on the subject:

Oakland Protesters Say Luxury Units Sit Empty While Residents Lack Affordable Housing – CBS Pittsburgh

Housing crisis accentuates Berkeley’s historical town, gown relationship – Daily Californian

Emergency measures: Bay Area cities scramble to stop recent spike of displaced renters

Mountain View council wrestles with rent control

Peninsula cities reject emergency protections for renters

Palo Alto delays urgency law on eviction

Local electeds attempt to protect renters as statewide rent control approaches on Jan. 1.

Stockton, Rancho Cordova pass emergency bans on no-fault evictions

Hermosa Beach adopts ordinance to protect city renters facing ‘no fault’ evictions – Beach Reporter

City of San Luis Obispo to consider rental urgency ordinance to protect tenants – Paso Robles Daily News

“DO THE RIGHT THING” | Ventura moves to stop no-fault evictions

LA Has More Vacant Homes Than Homeless People, Report Finds – LAist

Following LA’s And Other Cities’ Leads, Long Beach Approves No-Fault Eviction Freeze

Following LA’s And Other Cities’ Leads, Long Beach Approves No-Fault Eviction Freeze

San Gabriel Passes Temporary No-Fault Eviction Moratorium

El Monte protects renters from evictions ahead of state law, but not from rent hikes

Madera City Council temporarily blocks landlords from evicting residents without cause

Elizabeth Warren unveils plan to protect tenants’ rights

New Podcast on Tenants Together:

Is California’s most controversial new housing production law working?

By Marisa Kendall : eastbaytimes – excerpt

Time was running out for All Souls Episcopal Parish.

The congregation had spent months on its plan to build an apartment building for low-income seniors on its property in Berkeley, but all that work threatened to unravel late last year when a group of neighbors appealed a key zoning approval. With just a month to go until a major funding deadline — and $5 million at stake — the church couldn’t afford to wait out the appeal.

Instead, All Souls invoked a new and controversial state housing law — Senate Bill 35 — that put its project on the fast-track and allowed it to bypass hurdles like zoning appeals. Now the 37-unit project is set to break ground in June…

The All Souls project is one of more than 40 around the state that have used SB 35 since the law went into effect in January 2018. The law’s ambitious goal was to ease the state’s chronic housing shortage, but it has sparked an outcry from some local officials upset by the state’s usurping of their control. The law requires most cities to fast-track residential and mixed-use projects that meet certain affordability and other standards.

So far, California city officials have approved or are still considering more than 6,000 homes proposed under the law — including about 4,500 in the Bay Area, according to this news organization’s analysis of anecdotal reports and city and county data… (more)

Housing advocates deliver signatures to overturn Mountain View’s RV ban

By Mark Novack mv-voice – excerpt

Volunteers gathered voter signatures to block parking ban affecting homeless RV-dwellers

Housing advocates delivered a referendum petition with thousands of voter signatures to Mountain View City Hall late Friday afternoon in an effort to overturn a sweeping RV ban that they see as an attack on the homeless.

If certified by election officials, the referendum would force the City Council to rescind last month’s action to prohibit large vehicles from parking on most streets in Mountain View. If a majority of the council wishes to pursue the RV ban, it would need to go before voters to decide… (more)

Voters still have the referendum to oppose local laws and they are using their right to go to the polls when they disagree with local officials.

Marin Voice: New bill means saying goodbye to single-family zoning

By Sharon Rushton : marinij – excerpt

Assembly Bill 68, entitled “Land Use: Accessory Dwelling Units,” is one of the new housing bills that Gov. Newsom recently signed. It is an example of the State Legislature’s poor planning.

This detrimental bill eliminates single family zoning and enables the transformation of beneficial accessory dwelling units (second units and granny flats) into overcrowded multifamily triplexes with potentially multiple adverse impacts…

Unfortunately, by stripping away local control, community engagement, and environmental review related to second units, AB 68 goes too far.

Before adoption of the bill, a locality could choose whether or not to allow ADUs and if so, could set appropriate development standards (parking standards, setbacks, allowable density, height, for example).

In contrast, the new law requires jurisdictions to “ministerially” allow a homeowner, in single family neighborhoods, to build a detached backyard residence that is at least 800-square-feet and 16-feet-high with only four-foot side and rear setbacks, as well as convert a garage, office or spare room into a third living space. The size of the two additional units can be over and above the existing allowable square footage for the primary home…

It is important to note that Marin’s representatives, Sen. Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Marc Levine, voted for AB 68. This is despite the fact that most Marin residents greatly value single-family neighborhoods.

If you agree, please contact McGuire at (916) 651-4002 and Levine at (916) 319-2010. Let them know you are disappointed that they voted for AB-68… (more)

One year later, Amazon’s HQ2 drives massive housing shortage in Virginia

inman – excerpt

Since the retail giant announced plans to build an HQ2 office in Arlington County, Virginia, home prices have grown 32.9 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, active listings are down 49 percent.

Last fall, Amazon changed Virginia forever when it announced its decision to locate a much-hyped HQ2 office facility in the state’s Arlington County.

And now, exactly one year later to the day, the impacts of that announcement on the area’s real estate have come into focus: There are inventory shortages, skyrocketing prices and “a blistering pace of sales.”

That’s the verdict of a new report, released Wednesday, from The report ultimately concludes that Amazon’s announcement had an “immediate effect” on the area’s housing market, and that “the aftermath has been felt throughout the area since then.”… (more)

Majority of L.A. County voters say taxpayer money on homelessness isn’t spent effectively, Times poll finds

By Doug Smith and Benjamin Oreskes : latimes – excerpt

While 68% thought that allowing higher-density, mixed-income housing near transit would be effective and 63% favored letting developers construct larger buildings along major commercial corridors, only 43% favored building apartments on single-family lots.

As homelessness has exploded in Los Angeles in recent years, taxpayers have been willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on housing, shelters and services to help get people off the streets.

But a new poll shows that a broad majority of voters think the city and county have been ineffective in spending that money and that new policies are needed to address a crisis that they now equate with a natural disaster.

The poll, conducted for the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Business Council Institute of 901 voters registered countywide, found that Angelenos are generally frustrated and impatient with the government’s response to homelessness.

When asked what should be done — without consideration to cost — respondents strongly supported a grab bag of strategies, most of which are already being considered or implemented to some extent. … (more)

Depublication of CEQA EIR Project Description: Detail Case Sought by CSAC and League of Cities

By Miller Starr Regalia : sexology – excerpt

By October 21, 2019 letter – a decision on which is due by December 20, 2019 – the California State Association of Counties (“CSAC”) and the League of California Cities (“League”) have requested the California Supreme Court to depublish the Second District’s decision in a CEQA case involving a controversial Hollywood development project., et al. v. City of Los Angeles, et al. (2019) 39 Cal.App.1. A copy of the CSAC/League letter can be accessed here; I previously blogged on this case here.

The depublication request letter from CSAC and the League asserts that the opinion – which in relevant part addresses (1) the adequacy of detail in an EIR’s project description in terms of siting, size, mass and appearance of buildings, and (2) whether reviewing courts are required to address all CEQA defects alleged by the parties – “should be de-published because (A) it effectively makes modern land use and zoning regulations impermissible, (B) it completely omits discussion of the controlling legal authority on both legal issues, and (C) it is inconsistent with a well-established body of law and artificially distinguishes existing case precedent.”… (more)

What are Priority Development Areas and how do they fit into Sierra Club’s vision for urban infill?

By Julia Foote : sierraclub – excerpt (includes map)

How we build our cities and towns has a profound effect on the causes and impacts of climate change. The Sierra Club believes that an essential strategy for reducing urban carbon emissions is supporting dense, mixed-use communities and land uses that prioritize walking, biking/scooting or transit to meet daily transportation needs. We must also balance jobs and housing within the region to alleviate the housing crisis and ensure that people can live closer to where they work, cutting down long commutes.

In the Bay Area we have “Priority Development Areas,” or PDAs, as a key strategy to develop our region in the most sustainable manner. PDAs are existing neighborhoods that are served by public transit and have been locally identified and approved as appropriate for additional, compact development.

PDAs must be:

  • Within an existing community

  • Within a half-mile of frequent transit

  • In an area planned for future housing and job growth

PDAs are expected to accommodate 78 percent of projected new housing production (over 500,000 units) and 62 percent of employment growth (almost 700,000 jobs) in the Bay Area through the year 2040. More than 70 city and county governments have voluntarily designated some 170 locations around the Bay Area as PDAs(more)

Outer Sunset residents file appeal over ‘toxic,’ ‘pre-apocalyptic’ 20-unit apartment building

By Sasha Perigo : hoodline – excerpt

A group of Outer Sunset residents, led by Green Party member Mike Murphy, have filed an appeal against a housing development at 3945 Judah St. The development was approved by the Planning Commission earlier this month.

The 3945 Judah St. project is planned for the currently vacant former site of a gas station, adjacent to the N-Judah Muni line. It would contain 20 units, five of which would be rented at below market rate.

The project would double the amount of housing built in the Outer Sunset since 2011. Only 21 units were built in the neighborhood in the past eight years, according to the SF Planning Commission’s housing inventory report.

Flyers hung around the neighborhood refer to the project as the “Judah Sandcrawler.” Opponents of the project picked up the name from Adam Brinklow’s article in Curbed SF, where he compared the design of the project to a type of vehicle from “Star Wars.”…(more)

Building proposal pushback in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood

By Lauren Martinez : ktvu – excerpt (includes video)

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — San Francisco’s Planning Commission approved a project to take an old abandoned gas station off 45th Avenue and Judah and develop the space into a mixed use commercial and residential building.

But some residents in that Outer Sunset neighborhood say it’s too over the top.

According to San Francisco’s Planning Department project summary, HOME-SF is proposing to develop a five-story building with 20 residential units – some they consider affordable – with seven off-street parking spaces.

David Scheer lives around the corner and is one of many residents that spoke out in opposition to the project during last week’s public hearing. “Our main concern is we want public participation in the nature of our community,” Scheer said. “We don’t want to have somebody who doesn’t live here and who’s never lived here to just come in and build a huge high density project,” Scheer said …(more)

Anyone who objects to these projects should find out more about the state bills that are overriding local jurisdiction over decisions and making it impossible for our city authorities to deny the projects. How much better will life be if people like Senator Wiener and the Jeffery Tumlin, who oppose single family homes, have their way and force dense housing where it is not wanted?

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