California Lawmakers Kill Housing Bill After Fierce Debate

By Conor Dougherty : nytimes – excerpt

SACRAMENTO — Just before a committee of California state senators voted on a landmark bill to ramp up housing production by overriding local resistance, legislator after legislator talked about a dire affordable-housing crisis that demanded bold action and a marked increase in new building.

Then they killed the bill.

The vote here on Tuesday evening highlighted the emergence of California’s housing and homeless problem — and the fraught question of how to address it — as a potent election-year issue that promises to dominate the state’s politics for years.

The ferocity of that debate was on display throughout a meeting of the State Senate’s Transportation and Housing Committee, which met to vote on a divisive bill that would force local governments to accept higher-density projects around transit centers like train stations.

The bill, called S.B. 827, was introduced by Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco, and would have allowed developers to build five-story condominiums and apartment buildings near rail stops, even if local governments and zoning codes prohibited developments of that size…(more)

There are some details about construction around San Francisco that should be addressed to see the whole picture. We have a labor shortage that is slowing production of the housing projects that are already entitled. When you can’t find a contractor that wants to bid on a project, you can’t build the project. Passing a bill damanding cities build more does nothing to solve a labor shortage. We also have a problem with toxic soil. Three of the largest projects in San Francisco are on hold waiting for toxic cleanups on old navy properties. Harassing cities with draconian legal obligations is not going to solve these problems.

 

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SB 827 is up for reconsideration on April 24 after the bill lost this week.

Clearing up the details of the SB 827 vote

A number of misinformed statements regarding the vote on SB 827 have been circulating. This is the official statement signed by the Chair of the Transportation and Housing Committee, Senator Beall. The vote was 6 no, 4 aye, and 3 not voting. If Scott can talk some into changing their votes, he can still pass this out of committee, however, he faces a much more difficult time getting it passed in the next committee in time to get it through the to the full Senate by the deadline. Still, some people will show up to oppose this one, since they will be opposing SB 828 as well.

Thanks to these bills, and a few others our Northern representatives are forcing on the state residents, many Southern California citizens are rising up to flex their rather large and powerful political powers. This year could see some changes coming to our state legislature that may shift the power away from the Bay Area. Too much too fast and too disruptive is creating a bad environment for the easy-going California lifestyle we have come to love and appreciate and there is a movement to resurrect it.

Here is a link to the Senate Transportation and housing committee schedule:  http://stran.senate.ca.gov/content/2017-2018-bill-hearings

Here is a link to the official voting results on SB 827 and a copy of the page below:

page1image256.png

The following is a link to the Senate Transportation and housing committee schedule:

The next link is how they voted on SB 827:

Does Senate Bill-827 Even Make Sense

nine-county-coalition – excerpt

Killing the Bay Views One Stadium at a Time by zrants

By now most Bay Area residents know what California Senate Bill 827 is, and what its authors Scott Wiener and Nancy Skinner say they want to accomplish.  Most residents are also aware that there is opposition to the draconian nature of this bill.

The purported objective of SB 827 is to force all cities and counties in California to build lots of housing along all transit routes.  Theoretically, the increased supply would bring prices down; while proximity to bus and rail routes would encourage residents to ride transit, not drive their cars.  Do these objectives ring true in the context of today’s California housing “market.”  Does proximity to transit translate into increased transit ridership?  Does SB 827 even make any sense?…

Would SB 827 bring housing prices down?
Would SB 827 get people to take public transit?
What is the elasticity of SB 827?
Would SB 827 work with flexible transit schedules?

SB 827 Flyer we hope you also find useful SB 827 Flyer… (more)

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 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.

My Transit Density Bill (SB 827)

By Scott Wienermarketurbanismreport – excerpt

Answering Common Questions and Debunking Misinformation A summary of California’s SB827, which will allow more housing near transit corridors.

Our recent announcement of my bill (Senate Bill 827) allowing for more housing near public transportation has drawn a lot of attention, questions, and feedback. Sadly, some have also spread misinformation about the bill. This piece attempts to answer common questions and debunk misinformation.

California is in a deep housing crisis — threatening our state’s environment, economy, diversity, and quality of life — and needs an enormous amount of additional housing at all income levels. Mid-rise housing (i.e., not single-family homes and not high rises) near public transportation is an equitable, sustainable, and promising source for new housing. SB 827 promotes this kind of housing by prohibiting density restrictions (for example, local ordinances mandating only single-family homes) within a half mile of a major transit station or a quarter mile of a bus stop on a frequent bus line. The bill also sets the maximum zoned height in these areas at 45, 55, or 85 feet — that is, between 4 and 8 stories— depending on the nature of the street. (Those heights are maximums. Developers can choose to build shorter, but cities can’t force them to build shorter through restrictive zoning. Cities can allow taller heights, however.)… (more)

Upcoming events will give you a chance to let the Senator know how you feel about this bill and his work on removing local zoning jurisdiction on land use and transportation issues. Stay tuned…

 

California’s housing wars just starting

By Editorial Board : sfchronicle – excerpt

The Legislature’s long-delayed response to California’s housing crisis narrowly passed in September in a flurry of last-minute nail-biting and arm-twisting. Judging by the reception that has greeted one of the new year’s first housing bills, that was nothing.

The legislation, by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would overrule local zoning in favor of high-density residential development near mass transit. Sounds wonky enough, but fans of the idea have already declared that it would “change the shape of California housing” and, indeed, solve the housing crisis. Detractors, meanwhile, called it a “declaration of war on every urban community in California,” comparing it to the law that enabled Andrew Jackson’s Trail of Tears; and even posited that transit officials have been running empty buses up and down Berkeley’s Ashby Avenue just so developers can have their way with the surrounding neighborhoods once the bill becomes law…

A recent impasse over rent-control expansion in Chiu’s committee means a ballot-measure fight over the issue could be the backdrop of any debate over housing in the Legislature. The prospect of such an ultimately counterproductive response to the crisis makes legislators’ task that much more important…

It’s a problem that won’t be solved readily or easily, but the debate itself is yielding signs of progress. Officials in Brisbane, who have for years rejected a proposal to build thousands of homes on a closely watched site in San Francisco’s shadow, decided to reconsider this week, citing the mere “threat of … legislative action.”… (more)

The article makes no mention of the major cost of living increases that accompany the unlimited growth doctrine, pushed by Scott Wiener in SB 827, that is threatening the security of the middle class, gentrifying our neighborhoods, and pushing many people out of their homes onto the sidewalks and closing many businesses.

State control over local governments and land use is no more welcome than federal mandates on the states. Citizens want to control their lives and any government interference is unwelcome no matter what the excuse. Recall efforts are underway to replace at least one state legislator and more are threatened by angry constituents.

San Francisco’s former Mayor Newsom who is running for governor should not count on support from the home town he is suing over the right to override their waterfront decisions by claiming they are too stupid to manage their waterfront. (We understand this is one argument his attorney used for why the state should take back control of development of the waterfront the state handed over to the city to manage a few years ago.)

Voters are taxed out. An anti-tax movement is sweeping through the liberal political spectrum that normally supports raising taxes for social causes. Bills such as SB-827 that link dense development to transit rich corridors may turn off funding for public transportation as communities that oppose dense housing mandates strive to avoid being labeled transit rich. This sets up an interesting dynamic that unites the efforts of people fighting gentrification with those opposed to the policies of the SFMTA. This result in big changes at City Hall as well as in Sacramento, where the real damage is being done.

The latest Silicon Valley housing idea: On a landfill

By Richard Scheinin : mercurynews – excerpt

Environmental watchdogs OK plan for 1,680 units at City Place

Are we this desperate for land that we need to build on a dump? Can’t wait to see the marketing materials and disclosure statements on this one. This is not the first I have heard about building on landfill. Major problems with shifting soil would seem particularly concerning in an earthquake zone. Maybe you can sell housing to non-natives, but, it may be hard to convince people to buy on landfill after watching the effects of Loma Prieta  on the Marina and other “filled areas” in San Francisco. CEQA is becoming a big toothless grin on the face of our state. I think Ruth Shikada’s comment sums it up rather well, ““But as long as we stay the course and continue to do the research and prepare the documents … then we’re going to see housing on that site.” In other words, we can afford to hire more consultants and attorneys than the pubic so we will win in the end. She left out the politicians who are busy cementing their power over the public this season in Sacramento. SB 35 is a developer’s wet dream.

SANTA CLARA — It’s not your typical site for a new housing development: a former landfill, containing an estimated 5.5 million tons of municipal waste dumped over a quarter century in the heart of this city.

But it’s looking more and more as if the Related Companies’ plan to build a $6.7 billion mixed-use complex with up to 1,680 units of housing across the street from Levi’s Stadium will come to fruition. The project represents the largest housing project ever proposed atop a landfill in the Bay Area, regulators say, and perhaps in the entire state.

Environmental overseers have accepted Related’s massive technical document, which includes elaborate safety systems to block the escape of combustible methane gas and other dangerous vapors, and to prevent groundwater contamination… (more)