California Department of Housing and Community Development Warns San Francisco About Potential Violations of State Housing Law

By Bryan Wenter, AICP and Miller Starr Regalia : jdsupra – excerpt

For decades developers and landowners have considered San Francisco as a City that is unfriendly to property rights. From the City’s Hotel Conversion Ordinance, which severely restricts the conversion of hotels from residential to tourist use, to the Community Opportunity to Purchase Act, which gives non-profit organizations the right of first offer and the right of first refusal to purchase certain multi-family properties offered for sale in the City, San Francisco has a longstanding reputation as being hostile to constitutionally-protected property rights.

It comes as no surprise, then, that the Board of Supervisors recently rejected a 495-unit housing development project proposed for development on a parking lot by hiding behind vague concerns about supposed environmental deficiencies under the auspices of the California Environmental Quality Act despite the project’s robust protections under the Housing Accountability Act, California’s most important housing production law. The HAA provides the only lawful basis for a city to disapprove a housing development project and CEQA does not serve as a valid basis to disapprove such projects. The Board’s rejection of the project overturned the Planning Commission’s certification of the underlying Environmental Impact Report and related project approval without making the written findings mandated by the HAA…(more

I’m not going to comment on the inaccurate statements about the San Francisco issues with property rights, since the authors are obviously uninformed. San Francisco’s building industry loves big developments and hates small property owners, so it depends on whose property rights you are referring to.

These threats from the California Department of Housing and Community Development come at a time when the citizens are fighting back with threats of their own. OurNeighborhoodVoices.com is the answer for many who have had enough from the Sacramento politicians. A state-wide effort to collect signatures to put an initiative on the November ballot grew out of the anger of many who were blind-sided by the recent bills such as SB9 and SB10 that remove single family zoning from the state.

These bills, supported by our state representatives were not publicly vetted by the constituents who are really upset and ready to oust the state reps. At least one election to replace David Chiu may ride of the popularity of the state density bills. The top two contenders will have to show their hands on the matter as the outcome will undoubtably show us where the San Francisco is headed. This ballot initiative is heavily supported by Southern California residents who know about it, and they could tip the scales of political power away from Northern California if enough of them decide to vote.

San Francisco declares a water shortage emergency and urges residents to cut usage

By Stella Chan : CNN – excerpt (includes video)

San Francisco declared a water shortage emergency and is calling for a 10% reduction across its regional system, Mayor London Breed announced Tuesday.

“With California still experiencing devastating drought and the uncertainty around this rainy season, we need to make tough decisions that will ensure that our water source continues to be reliable and dependable for the future,” Breed said.

“Year after year, San Franciscans step up to conserve our most precious resource, resulting in one of the lowest water usage rates in California, and during this critical time, I know that our City will once again meet the call to reduce water use.”

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) unanimously approved the emergency measure, which applies to all 2.7 million customers in Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Francisco counties, according to the mayor’s office…(more)

Seriously? The state wants to sue the city for not building enough housing and we don’t have sufficient water for the residents who live here now?

California agency: San Francisco may have violated state law by rejecting affordable housing projects

by: Omar Pérez : fox40 – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) informed San Francisco officials that the county and city may have violated state housing law by rejecting multiple affordable housing projects.

On Monday. Housing Accountability Unit Chief Shannan West sent a letter to City and County officials that the HCD is concerned that officials are “constraining the provision of housing” in the city after supervisors rejected two proposed housing projects in October.

“While these projects have sought different types of approval, they share the circumstance of having poor Planning Commission approvals of significant housing projects being overturned by the BOS — without any documented findings,” the letter said.

“HCD is concerned that this represents a larger trend in the City/County.”…(more)

Save California Solar Launches TV, Cable and Radio Broadcast Ads

By 6Park News : 6parkexcerpt

SACRAMENTO, California, October 27, 2021 / PRNewswire / –The Save California Solar coalition launched a new publicity effort this week, including broadcast TV, cable and radio spots, calling on Governor Newsom and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to reject a utility profit taking. Investor-owned and instead keep rooftop solar growing. and affordable in California.

The announcements come as the CPUC considers changes to “net energy metering,” the state policy that makes rooftop solar more affordable for consumers of all kinds by compensating them for the excess energy they produce and share with his neighbors. Net metering is currently used by 1.3 million consumers, including thousands of public schools, churches, and affordable housing developments, and it is the primary driver of Of California world-renowned rooftop solar market. As a result of the net measurement, working-class and middle-class neighborhoods they are just under half of the rooftop solar market and the fastest growing segment today…

About Save California Solar

Save California Solar is a coalition founded by the Solar Rights Alliance, Of California Solar Power Users Association, to help ensure rooftop solar continues to grow and benefit all Californians. Learn more at www.savecaliforniasolar.org(more)

Join the effort to protect rooftop solar in California: SaveCaliforniaSolar.org
Join the effort to return the power to the voters by supporting the state ballot initiative to return local control over land use and zoning: https://ourneighborhoodvoices.com/
JoIn efforts to re-open the streets: https://openthestreets.wordpress.com/

Statewide initiative to restore local power gains support as people fine out about it.

Sup. Mandelman’s Fourplex Legislation Clears Major Hurdle By Passing Planning Commission

By Jo Kukura : sfist – excerpt

A plan that could turn 110,000 single-family homes into fourplexes passed the Planning Commission after hours of testimony, but is still likely to face contentious debate in committees and before the Board of Supervisors.

The density movement is coming to San Francisco housing, to borrow a phrase from Gavin Newsom, “whether you like it or not.” Newsom signed a pair of housing-density bills in September which make it easier to split up homes into duplexes and fourplexes, and to rezone some parcels near public transit for more units. And while this may delight the pro-development and “Legalize apartments” crowds, there is little guarantee landlords wouldn’t use the new density rules to toss out current tenants under the guise of “remodeling,” or just charge tenants the exact same rent for a unit they just cut the fuck in half…(more)

There is something a bit hinky about forcing density on a state that is running out of water. Let’s not punish ourselves and make our lives more difficult and more expensive during a major drought and pandemic where we have been told to wash our hands under running water for over two years by fining ourselves for using water as we are following instructions to be extra clean and careful.

When do we get back to reality and cut back on expansion policies during the drought? Work at home means less need for office space, opening up those spaces to be turned into housing. Delivery services are killing retail, leaving a lot of empty store space that may also be re-purposed.

Trickle policies do not work. The top down approach to governing has failed. If homeowners want to build out their homes to fit changes in their lives why should the government obstruct them? We need the opt in approach, not edicts from the state. Hopefully this legislation will be opt in.

Third District Ruling

By Miller Starr Regalia : lexology – excerpt

Third District Holds CEQA Does Not Authorize “Remedy” of “Limited EIR” To Augment Deficient MND; Rather, Full EIR Must Be Prepared Where Substantial Evidence Supports Fair Argument That Any Aspect Of Project May Have Significant Environmental Effect.

In a partially published opinion filed on November 3, 2021, involving the CEQA review for a bed and breakfast/commercial event project proposed on property within a Yolo County agricultural zone, the Third District Court of Appeal (in a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Robie) reaffirmed the basic CEQA principle that a “full EIR” must be prepared whenever a project may have any significant environmental effect; it thus reversed the trial court’s judgment that had allowed a deficient revised Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) and its mitigation measures to remain intact while ordering Yolo County to also prepare an EIR limited to addressing only the project’s impacts on three species of concern (tricolored blackbird, valley elderberry longhorn beetle, and golden eagle). The Court of Appeal reversed and remanded with instructions to issue a peremptory writ directing the County to set aside its MND approval and to prepare a full EIR instead Farmland Protection Alliance v. County of Yolo (2021) ___ Cal.App.5th ___. (In the unpublished portion of its opinion, which won’t be further discussed in this post, the Court of Appeal held the trial court was correct in finding that substantial evidence supported a fair argument that the project may have a significant impact on the beetle, thus requiring an EIR, and also concluded the trial court did not err in upholding the County’s determinations that the project was consistent with the Williamson Act and County’s zoning code.)…(more)

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