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Urge Senators to Oppose High-Density Housing Bill (SB-828) Before Hearing On May 14th

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Please send letters, call Senators, and attend the Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing re: Senate Bill 828 (Wiener) to stop unsustainable high-density housing and unfunded mandates! If adopted, SB-828 would dramatically increase the number of housing units that jurisdictions must plan for!

Although Senate Bill 827 (Wiener) was defeated in committee, another just as powerful but less known housing bill is moving through the Senate. It is Senate Bill 828, which was also introduced by Senator Wiener.

SB-828 will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, May 14th at 10:00 AM. The members of the committee will be voting on whether or not the bill will move forward to the Senate Floor. It is very important that as many people as possible who oppose this bill attend the meeting. We hear that supporters of the bill will be there in large numbers. Be sure to hold up a sign that says; "No on SB-828!” especially if you don't plan to speak.

**Signs bigger than 8 and 1/2" by 11" are prohibited.

WHAT: California Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing re: SB-828
WHEN: Monday, May 14, 2018 at 10 AM
WHERE: California State Capitol, John L. Burton Hearing Room (4203), 1315 10th St. B-27, Sacramento, CA 95814 (10th and L streets)

In addition, please call and send letters to the Senators, who are members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and urge them to vote "No" on SB-828. Also, please contact Senator Mike McGuire, our representative, and do the same. Be sure to email your letters to the Senators' aides too. Scroll down for their contact information.

According to the Long Beach Report; "the Senate Appropriations Committee is a 'non-policy' committee that's supposed to consider only fiscal impacts of proposed bills on the State budget. However, as a practical matter, the committee operates as a majority-party controlled 'gatekeeper' preventing bills from reaching the Senate floor if not supported by majority party (Dem) leadership."

Since the Senate Appropriations Committee acts as the "Gatekeeper" to the Senate floor and SB-828 would impact local communities much more than the State budget, you could write a letter that addresses the concerns of local jurisdictions rather than the fiscal impact of the bill on the State budget. Such local concerns are explained below.


SB-828 would change Housing Element law and would dramatically increase the number of housing units that cities and counties must plan for in several ways:

For more details about the bill, please read the LA Times article entitled; "A little-known bill could reshape housing development across California":

Excerpts from the LA Times article:

"A Bay Area lawmaker's housing proposal (SB-828) could expand the size and scope of home building efforts in California at an unprecedented scale."

"SB 828 has garnered less interest (than SB-827) because its changes are harder to understand and predict, said Greg Morrow, director of the Fred Sands Institute of Real Estate at Pepperdine University. But Morrow said SB 828's increases to allowable zoning for housing across the state could be as dramatic as those anticipated by Wiener's other bill (SB-827)."

Knowing the following terms will help you understand SB-828:

"Housing Element": Every jurisdiction must adopt a Housing Element as part of their general plan. The Housing Element is essentially a housing plan that must adequately plan to meet the housing needs of everyone in the community.

"Regional Housing Needs Allocation": The Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) is the state-mandated process to identify the total number of housing units (by affordability level) that each jurisdiction must plan for in its Housing Element. In the bay area, each jurisdiction is assigned its RHNA by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).


SB-828 sets jurisdictions up for failure and won't result in more housing being built: Requiring a city or county to plan for 125% of their Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) plus additional escalating RHNA numbers based on unmet production of units, sets the jurisdiction up for failure and possibly leaves them open to legal challenge. Localities cannot control many factors related to increasing the housing supply, such as the price of land, legal challenges brought under the California Environmental Quality Act, construction labor shortages, parcel owners’ willingness to build, and a lack of government subsidies for affordable housing. Moreover, Assembly Bill-1397 of 2017 imposed stricter requirements on what parcels may be considered reasonable options for housing construction, making it much more difficult to identify sites. This makes it impossible to achieve the ambitious goals of the bill;

Housing Elements and Regional Housing Needs Allocations should remain planning tools rather than mandates for building housing units: SB-828 provides that the difference between the previous Housing Element cycle’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) and the reported housing production shall be added to the current RHNA. The bill adds that this provision shall be considered an un-appealable obligation for the local government. Therefore, a jurisdiction is penalized and forced to plan for even more housing if a Regional Housing Needs Allocation is not fully built, even though it was planned for. Since local governments do not actually build housing, it is inappropriate to make the housing allocation a mandate of the number of housing units that must be built;

SB-828 would encourage sprawl and increase greenhouse gas emissions: As noted above, Assembly Bill-1397 of 2017 imposed stricter requirements on what parcels may be considered reasonable options for housing construction. SB-828 would end up pushing development out to suburban areas where it is easier to find eligible parcels. It would also force jurisdictions, with little vacant land, to up-zone inappropriate sites (E.g. sites subject to sea level rise) and rezone agricultural or open space area. Building in outer areas could result in increased vehicle miles traveled as more people commute to downtowns, which in turn could hurt greenhouse gas reduction efforts;

SB-828 would be unfair and penalize the wrong parties: This bill aims to discourage housing deficits by forcing jurisdictions to roll over past housing production shortfall into the next cycle. However, Regional Housing Needs Allocation are often allocated unevenly across a region, which can strongly impact whether a locality is successful in meeting its allocation. (E.g. Town 1 must plan for 10,000 housing units, while Town 2, a similar town in all respects, must plan for a 1000 units. Town 1 falls short and is penalized, while Town 2 meets its allocation.);

SB-828 would increase SB-35 streamlining: SB-828 would increase the potential for developers to take advantage of SB-35 streamlining and avoid CEQA and its required public engagement process on sites that meet SB-35 criteria. Streamlining goes against the principles of local democracy and public engagement. Public hearings allow members of the community to inform their representatives of their support and/or concerns about potential development and leads to better project outcomes;

If excessive housing units were built, then the subsequent housing densification and population growth would increase the risk of adverse impacts: If excessive housing units were constructed, then the corresponding housing densification and population growth would increase the risk of adverse impacts on the environment, public health and safety, traffic congestion, infrastructure, utilities (water supply), public services (schools, fire dept., police, etc.), neighborhood character, and quality of life;

The bill would create unfunded mandates: The bill would create unfunded mandates. There is no funding for dealing with the above listed impacts and the bill provides an official sidestep of addressing this issue. In addition, there are no subsidies provided for affordable housing programs. Moreover, jurisdictions tend to receive less tax revenue from residential developments than commercial and reserving a larger percentage of land for housing would squeeze local budgets;

It would be better to wait to adopt any new housing legislation until jurisdictions have had more time to implement last year's housing package of bills: Last year's (2017) housing package included bills that made a number of changes to housing element law, which localities are still in the process of understanding and implementing. It would be better to allow more time for implementation of last year's legislation to take place before imposing new requirements on localities.


Telephone Numbers:

Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair (D-Long Beach): (916) 651-4033

Senator Pat Bates, Vice-Chair (R-N. of San Diego): (916) 651-4036

Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose): (916) 651-4015

Senator Steven Bradford (D-South Central LA): (916) 651-4035

Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo County, North Santa Clara County): (916) 651-4013

Senator Jim Nielsen (R-North of Sacramento, Chico): (916) 651-4004

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco): (916) 651-4011

Email Addresses:

Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair (D-Long Beach):

Senator Lara’s Aide:

Senator Pat Bates, Vice-Chair (R-N. of San Diego):

Senator Bates’ Aide:

Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose):

Senator Beall’s Aide:

Senator Steven Bradford (D-South Central LA):

Senator Bradford’s Aide:

Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo County, North Santa Clara County):

Senator Hill’s Aide:

Senator Jim Nielsen (R-North of Sacramento, Chico):

Senator Nielsen’s Aide:

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco):

Senator Wiener’s Aide:

Here's the link to the Senate Appropriation Committee's website:


Senator Mike McGuire (D-Marin County, Sonoma County): (916) 651-4002 /

Senator McGuire’s Aide: Carole Mills:

Thank you in advance for taking action. Together we can make a difference!