Critical Developments: We urge you to educate yourselves about the following housing bills and to contact your state representatives: Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo at (916) 319-2051 and Senator Maria Elena Durazo at (213) 483-9300. We are attaching a form letter which you can adapt and send.
Sacramento legislators have introduced housing bills that take away local control of housing and mandate density, even in hillside areas such as ours where substandard infrastructure—including severely substandard roads, fire hazards and other issues are critical to evaluating building. The bills are supported by development, real estate interests and density proponents that in the opinion of Livable California (an advocacy group that supports maintaining single family home zoning which these bills essentially eliminate) were among the worst bills introduced in the last two legislative sessions.
The Bills are identified as SB 6 to 10 and have a good chance of becoming law soon. Again, we urge you to speak up and contact your representatives.
Two groups, United Neighbors and Livable California, have detailed information on their sites about the pending legislation including video presentations. United Neighbors’ presentation is also at Livable California’s site here. The site includes a good graphic explaining how SB 9 will affect housing.
SB 9 (which you may have seen discussed recently on Nextdoor and other media) would prevent the City from denying “lot splits” allowing four (or more) housing units on lots currently zoned for one home. It requires cities to grant “ministerial” (checklist type) approval to proposed housing development projects for two residential units on parcels zoned for single-family residences and its “urban lot split” provisions require ministerial approval to subdivide a parcel to create two new parcels of equal size no smaller than 1,200 square feet. These provisions would let an owner or developer take a single-family zoned parcel with one home on it, subdivide it into two equal size lots and then build two homes on each lot plus ADUs producing six or more residences on what had been a single-family home lot. Garages and yard would not be required.
SB 9 allows the City to require only one off-street parking space per house and prevents parking requirements if the parcel is within half a mile of a high-quality transit corridor, a major transit stop or a car share vehicle. This is a critical safety issue for our area where emergency vehicles have difficulty getting through when vehicles are parked on the road.
SB 10 would let a City Council, by a simple majority vote, pass an ordinance to zone any parcel for up to 10 units of residential density per parcel in areas the bill defines as “transit-rich,” “jobs-rich” or “urban infill.” SB 10 exempts the zoning change ordinance from California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review, posing serious concerns about the environmental impact.
SB 6 would “deem a housing development project ... an allowable use on a ... parcel within an office or retail commercial zone that is not adjacent to an industrial use.” It would require the density for such a housing development to meet or exceed the density deemed appropriate to accommodate housing for lower income households according to the type of local jurisdiction, including a density of at least 20 units per acre for a suburban jurisdiction.
SB 7 would require preparing a master Environmental Impact Report (EIR), for a general plan, plan amendment, plan element, or specific plan for housing projects where the state has provided funding for preparing the master EIR. It would then “allow for limited review of proposed subsequent housing projects that are described in the master EIR if the use of the master EIR is consistent with specified provisions of CEQA.” This creates a generic EIR for a large area with no consideration for unique characteristics such as hillsides.
FORM LETTER BELOW (Website contacts are linked):
Governor Gavin Newsom 1303 10th Street, Suite 1173 Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone: (916) 445-2841 Fax: (916) 558-3160
State Capitol, Room 5066 Sacramento, CA 95814 Tel: (916) 651-4024 Fax: (916) 651-4924
Capitol Office (AD-51) 1303 Tenth Street, Room 4167 Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 319-2051
RE: VOTE NO on SB 6 through 10
I am writing to ask you to vote NO on Senate Bills 6 through 10. These bills eliminate single family homes without consideration of local health and safety issues.
I live in a hillside, very high fire severity zone with extremely substandard streets and inadequate infrastructure. These bills take away local zoning requirements that protect the health and safety of this community by requiring adequate roads, off-street parking, septic, environmental and other safety measures.
Our local firefighters describe this area as a “nightmare” because they are unable to reach destinations due to the inadequate infrastructure and insufficient off-street parking. Imposing generic one-size-fits-all statewide zoning which greatly increases the density in such a neighborhood significantly increases the risk that emergency vehicles will not be able to adequately serve the community: lives will be lost and fires will destroy homes.
The environmental impact will also be severe. Our neighborhood contains many endangered species, none of which will be protected if these bills become law. Eliminating yards and permeable soil destroys habitat, creates drainage issues, increases the risk of landslides (already a problem) and otherwise endangers the neighborhood.
While putting neighborhoods like mine at risk, these bills do little to create affordable housing or otherwise deal fairly and intelligently with the housing crisis. Developers will profit, not homeowners or renters.