California Urban Forests Could be Lost To SB 9 and SB 10

Since SB9 and SB10 passed and were signed into law by Governor Newsom, the only chance we have to save these urban forests and the most important canopies in our cities that cool the planet is to get the enough signatures to put the State Ballot Initiative for a State Constitutional Amendment on the November ballot to revers the state bills overriding local control of land use and zoning. See the details here:

Land Use Matters: December 2021

By Andrea S. Warren, Kathleen A. Hill : Alston and Bird : alston – excerpt
(Includes a downloadable pdf)

Los Angeles Department of City PlanningNew City Planning Application Fees Take Effect on December 27, 2021

California Environmental Quality Act & Land Use Cases:…

Farmland Protection Alliance v. County of Yolo (3rd App. Dist., November 2021)

Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods v. Regents of University of California (1st App. Dist., October 2021)

McCann v. City of San Diego (4th App. Dist., October 2021)

Protect Tustin Ranch v. City of Tustin (4th App. Dist., September 2021)

California Renters Legal Advocacy & Education Fund v. City of San Mateo (1st App. Dist., September 2021)


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

CaRLA Disappointed in Huntington Beach Housing Lawsuit Ruling

by Greg Magofña : CaRLA – excerpt

An absurd ruling in our Huntington Beach Lawsuit

We are simultaneously disappointed in and surprised by a trial judge’s ruling last week to deny 48 units of desperately needed and zoning-compliant housing in Huntington Beach on the grounds that the project is not protected by the Housing Accountability Act. This ruling flies in the face of court precedent elsewhere in the state and is a blow to housing, potential tenants, and the Housing Accountability Act that was created specifically to prevent spurious disapprovals of housing such as this. It is a complete misinterpretation and misapplication of a statute intended as much as possible to facilitate the approval of housing developments.

This ruling simply cannot stand. However, before we appeal in court, we must appeal to pro-housing supporters everywhere. Your financial support is needed now, more than ever…

We are also gearing up for the appeal of San Mateo’s illegal denial of zoning-compliant housing where the ruling was so bad, California’s Attorney General Xavier Bercera had to intervene on behalf of California housing laws, and we need your help! …(more)

California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund frustrated by loss.

The American Dream is dying a slow death in California

By Bob Silvestri : marinpost – excerpt

It’s easy to become numb to warnings about the future, these days. Every minute of every day the mainstream media bombards us with shrieks about some new “crisis” or another “war on…” whatever, to the point of exhaustion. However, every once in a while, the fire drill is for real.

This week, I watched an extraordinary analysis of two new California housing laws coming up for a vote in Sacramento: SB-9 and SB-10. The presentation was the work of Maria and Jeff Kalban, the founders of United Neighbors in Sherman Oaks, California. It would be an understatement to say that, if passed, this legislation will bring about the biggest changes to zoning law and city planning in California, in the past 100 years… and none of it for the better.

Much is written these days about “affordable housing,” and for good reason. At the same time, our state and local governments find themselves so financially strapped that most of the things we used to take for granted–roads and parks maintenance, public services, and even city, county, and state office hours—continue to be reduced: a trend that started long before the Covid pandemic. So, under these circumstances, how can local and county agencies be expected to promote housing development, when housing, typically, generates more public costs than tax revenues?…(more)

The False Promise of Residential Infill Re-zoning and Re-development

“Despite non-stop construction of rental units, between 2010 and 2015, Seattle saw the fastest rents of any place in the US.”

Brought to our attention by the new San Jose grassroots neighborhood organization –

California Housing Legislation Effective in 2021

Alfred Fraijo Jr., Yue Shi, Kira TeshimaSheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP : jdsupra – excerpt

The California Legislature made modest gains on housing production and stimulus bills in 2020, and there are several notable bills that took effect on January 1, 2021.  The new laws tackle COVID-19, project permit streamlining and planning, residential density bonus, and the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”).  Below is a summary of these new laws.

Additionally, the Legislature is revisiting some of the signature housing production bills that failed in October.  For example, Senate Bill (“SB”) 6 would allow housing developments as a permitted use in commercial zones, and SB 9 would allow for duplexes and lot splits in single-family residential zones to be allowed by-right.  We will continue to monitor their progress and provide updates as soon as we can…(more)

Evidence Mounting of Market Solution to Housing

By Thomas D. Elias : californiafocus – excerpt

New evidence arrives almost every day backing the concept of a market-based solution to California’s housing shortage, one that does not have to involve politicians at all.

Of course, that offends politicos like San Francisco’s Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener, who persists in the notion that high-density, high-rise apartments and condominiums are the answer.

In a sense, he’s right. For the market-based solution that’s fast taking shape does involve high rises and high density – just not in new buildings. Rather, housing will almost certainly occupy space now leased by insurance companies, law firms, venture capitalists, bank headquarters – almost every kind of white collar business… (more)

This what people have been been saying for a while. Re-purpose the existing properties.

Report: S.F. Dept. of Building Inspection flooded with construction complaints

By : bizjournals – excerpt

San Francisco’s Department of Building Inspection has been hit with a slew of complaints of nonessential construction in violation of the shelter in place, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The city received 730 complaints of unauthorized work from March 30 to April 8 — 180 that went to the building department and 550 through the city’s 311 customer service center — according to the Chronicle, a volume that is heavy for the department, which prior to the shelter-in-place order averaged 12-15 referrals a day…(more)

Column: Housing debate needs to get facts straight

By Michael Smolens : sandiegouniontribune – excerpt

California needs more housing, no question. But how much housing the state actually needs is a big question.

As a candidate and then governor, Gavin Newsom repeatedly said that the state needed 3.5 million additional homes by 2025. That figure became something of an article of faith and helped drive the debate over what the state needed to do to reach that goal.

Disputed legislation was pushed that would strip local governments of some control over land development to encourage greater housing density everywhere — from heavily-trafficked transit corridors to single-family-home neighborhoods.

A study released in August not only raises doubts about that 3.5 million figure, but says the actual need is more like 1.5 million housing units. That’s still a lot, but if it becomes part of the ongoing debate, the lower figure could potentially change the political dynamics surrounding it… (more)

A lot of figures used in future growth projections were based on assumptions that California should expect a steady growth in the economy based on the high tech industry and a robust world economy. Given the number of citizens leaving the state, and the decline in small businesses and traditional jobs, and the current decline in immigrants and seasonal workers, it is important to consider a less robust growth in population than was originally projected. That would mean a lot less demand for the high-end housing that has driven the rush to build more dense housing. Recent votes against higher taxes are also a cause for alarm to those who anticipate a non-ending source of capital for public infrastructure projects. The political appetite for growth and density is declining as social problems take center stage and greed and corruption are exposed. We need new leadership to take the stage, put away the twenty year plans, and deal with today’s reality.

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