Who is causing California’s housing shortage?

Wiener World on your block

If you don’t want Wiener World on your block, learn more about the attempts to remover local community jurisdiction over land use and zoning and the players in Sacramento who are trying to gentrify the state. Attend the April 28th forum on SB 827 and Beyon.

Everyone has a theory about who’s to blame for the housing shortage that’s driving up prices and chasing families out of the region and state.

A new poll offers surprising insights into where most of us point the finger: not at the government officials who control what homes are built where, but at the tech companies and the real estate developers trying to maximize profits.

Experts say finding someone to blame is not that simple. The real answer, they say, lies tangled in a complicated web that implicates everyone involved, from businesses to local elected officials to your next door neighbor. And the stakes are high for policy makers trying to untangle that web as the housing crisis intensifies. To solve the problem, it’s crucial to understand the factors that turned the state’s real estate market into one of the country’s most dysfunctional… (more)

Who do you trust and who do you blame for the sorry state of the state of California? Why are there so many empty units if housing the homeless is a priority? Getting those units filled should be the top goal, not centralized top down planning. Attend the April 28th forum on SB 827 and Beyond.

 

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Wiener’s Even More Onerous Senate Bill 828

While Senate Bill 827 is getting all the attention it deserves, sitting in its’ shadow is another equally onerous Senate Bill proposed by Scott Wiener and likely authored again his partner in crime Brian Hanlon – See Senate Bill 828 with the innocuous title “Land Use: Housing Element”

For decades every city and county in California has been given a housing quota, or “Regional Housing Needs Assessment” allocation (RHNA, often pronounced ree-na) that it must plan for. Cities don’t build housing or submit housing proposals (a fatal flaw in Wiener’s Senate Bill 828 we’ll come back to) but these quotas require that cities and counties produce specific numbers of units at different income levels.

These quotas are calculated by a number of regional government bodies such as the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), and the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG)…

Senate Bills 35 and 828 – A deadly cocktail

The fundamental flaw of Senate Bill 35 is that cities do not control how many development proposals are submitted for approval. Yet, SB 35 holds cities accountable for how many units they approve. Anyone can easily understand this disconnect. Wiener and Hanlon who authored SB35 chose not to…

SB 828 dramatically increases RHNA quotas(more)

Thankfully a lot of California cities and counties are demanding their state reps oppose this bill. NO amendment will work when the intent is to overturn local jurisdiction over land use and zoning, as these bills are doing. Either you are for centralized government and the state control of your city or not.

The Top Talent of Tech Disruptors and Titans

paysa – excerpt

I asked if anyone has any data on how long tech workers stay in their jobs, since we are building homes for them to shorten their commutes. I was directed to this article. Please share this with credit to the source.

How Long Do Employees Stay?

… We already know Amazon’s turnover rate is among the highest but what about other tech disruptors and titans? Whose employees stick around the longest, and whose are heading for the hills?

Facebook had the highest average employee tenure at just over two years, with Google and Oracle not far behind (at just under two years). But here’s a surprise: The highest turnover rate didn’t belong to Amazon. It was Uber that lead the race to the bottom, with 1.2 years of the average employee tenure…(more)

If the average stay at a tech job is less than two years, how can we build housing that cuts commute times for workers who move every two years and why are we disrupting and displacing our communities to make room for a temporary work force?

Please share with credits as follows: Fair Use Statement: Want to share our content for noncommercial purposes? Feel free to share and geek out on the data with us, just link your readers back to this page.

CEQA isn’t stopping housing, it’s protecting health

: sacbee – excerpt

California needs affordable housing. But legislators must follow the data, not anecdotal evidence from monied interests, to find a legislative fix that will encourage development consistent with California’s priorities.

Communities throughout the state, particularly poor and minority neighborhoods, need permanent housing without risking health or increasing carbon emissions.

Some profit-focused developers point a finger at the California Environmental Quality Act as a key obstacle to building more housing. The facts tell a different story. Today’s streamlined CEQA protects public health and natural resources while giving voice to disadvantaged communities.

Multiple recent studies show that CEQA is not a significant barrier to development. Since its adoption in 1970, CEQA has been updated regularly. Senate Bill 226 in 2011 simplified the review of urban infill projects and affordable housing near public transit…

The 2016 proposal put forth by the governor, for example, offered exemptions to high-priced housing units, favoring developers while clearing the way for projects that would have increased air pollution and encouraged sprawl.

There is a disturbing trend in national politics to substitute falsehoods for facts. We can’t let that happen with the laws that protect our natural resources, public health and economy. CEQA keeps the Golden State clean and green by promoting transparency and public accountability.

Allen Hernandez is executive director of the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice in Riverside. He can be contacted at Allen.H@CCAEJ.org(more)

RELATED:
The Top Talent of Tech Disruptors and Titans

 

 

 

New housing bill to add housing near transit has residents worried about the ‘Manhattan-ization’ of the Bay Area

By Riley McDermid : bizjournal – excerpt

A new bill aimed at fixing at least part of the state’s housing crisis has some Bay Area residents worried about the “Manhattan-ization” of the region, as it looks to add more housing units at potentially higher heights to projects near transit hubs.

Sponsored by Sen. Scott Wiener, (D-San Francisco), Senate Bill 827 wants to allow more housing near rail, BART and Caltrain stations, with more housing added within a half mile of those stops. Units added would also be allowed to be higher than they currently are in many cases, from four to eight stories, and possibly even taller if they were closer to transit hubs.

Proponents of the bill say California’s preference for single-family neighborhoods has put a bottleneck on building supply for housing-starved neighborhoods, while those against it say turning to building housing in taller structure could lead to a forest of apartment towers…(more)

The list of cities opposing this bill, in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Senator Wiener’s constituents are most appalled, has many hoping this will not pass. In spite of recent amendments meant to appease some affordable housing advocates, the bill remains unpopular.

New amendments to Scott Wiener’s SB-827 are here

This the latest edition of Amendments to SB-827. We are still concerned with many aspects of the bill.

http://sd11.senate.ca.gov/sites/sd11.senate.ca.gov/files/sb_827_amendments_022718.pdf

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Local inclusionary %affordable requirements apply (anticipated this, doesn’t really change anything)
  2. Rent controlled homes cannot be demolished for SB 827 without local govt demo permit; every displaced tenant will have a Right to Remain Guarantee – which is really only a right of first refusal upon completion at the rent previously “enjoyed” by the tenant in their demolished unit (see #4)
  3. Local demo permit process shall remain
  4. Displacement protections: moving expenses & 42 months rental assistance for comparable unit in the area; right of first refusal…
  5. Local setback and yard requirements remain enforceable
  6. State density bonuses may be added
  7. Transit rich projects only qualify within 1/4 of a transit stop on a corridor; not the corridor itself
  8. Street width changes from curb to curb to property line to property line; the width threshold for the taller heights is now 75 feet instead of 45 feet.
  9. Parcels affected are residential and mixed use; not industrial
  10. SB827 projects may be eligible for SB35 streamlining

This really doesn’t change much. It’s still a power grab, and the heights didn’t change, if anything state density bonus impact is confirmed. We always anticipated the local inclusionary requirement would be present.

Just 23 in-law units built after two years as SF seeks to iron out approval process

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Two years after San Francisco passed a law intended to encourage property owners to add accessory dwelling units to help ease the housing crisis, snags in the approval process are calling into question the program’s effectiveness.

The most recent data shows there have been 109 permits issued for construction of new accessory dwelling units — sometimes called garden apartments, granny units or in-laws — and only 23 units have been built as a result of The City passing legislation in 2016 to allow their construction citywide.

Accessory dwelling units, which are added within a building’s existing envelope, are hailed as a cost-effective way to create affordable housing and are covered by rent-control laws when added to existing rent-controlled buildings.

Applicants, however, are expressing frustration over the approval process and say they are running into obstacles when it comes to passing requirements like the fire code, according to a hearing at the Building Inspection Commission last week… (more)

The program is based on the assumption that a lot of homeowners want to invest in their property to build a new unit to rent out for added income. Why would they want to disrupt their lives and spend a lot of time and money when they like their life the way it is? There are few empty garages in SF and you can’t trust the city to allow you to park outside your home. Why give up your off-street parking space?

These conflicting ideas are not working because you can’t incentivize people to do things they don’t want to do. Maybe instead of hiring consultants to dream up incentive programs, people ignore, City Hall should ask the public to suggest changes they want, and the Planning Department should make it happen for them. If they can work for the developers, they can work for everyone else.

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.)

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)

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.