The Marin Post

The Voice of the Community

Click on Survey title
Tell us what you think about how MMWD is dealing with the drought

Blog Post

Get ready to call State Legislators, starting this Monday, July 27th!

Get ready to call State Legislators, starting this Monday, July 27th!

Please phone Marc Levine, Assembly Member, and Mike McGuire, State Senator, to urge them to oppose detrimental high-density housing bills. Make these calls starting this Monday, July 27th!

Last year legislators defeated SB-50. They listened to constituents and voted against a heavy-handed bill to increase density near transit centers and reduce local control over the decisions.

Now they’re trying to pass SB-50 in little pieces. The bills benefit developers, high tech titans in Silicon Valley, and global real estate investors. The ‘divide and conquer’ strategy is intended to overcome the will of the people, especially when constituents are focusing on health, safety, finances, and justice. The bills benefit the wealthy, burden cities and average Californians, and widen the equity gap—without providing housing for low-income residents.

Legislator Contact information:

Marc Levine, State Assembly, Marin County
916-319-2010 and 415-479-4920

Mike McGuire, State Senate, Marin County
916-651-4002 and 415-479-6612


Senate Bill 1120 (Atkins & Wiener) "Subdivisions: tentative maps":

SB-1120 destroys single-family zoning. SB-1120 requires cities and counties to permit ministerial either or both of the following in single-family zones, as long as they meet specified conditions: 1) urban lot split; and 2) a duplex. A single-family residential parcel could be split and then each half could be turned into two separate duplexes, resulting in a total of 4 housing units. The bill exempts these housing projects from public hearings, discretionary review, environmental (CEQA) review, and greatly reduces parking requirements. SB-1120 also creates unfunded mandates because it disclaims the state's responsibility for providing reimbursement by citing local governments’ authority to charge for the costs of implementing the bill's provisions.

Senate Bill 1085 (Skinner) "Density Bonus Law":

SB-1085 makes several changes to existing Density Bonus Law and provides additional benefits to housing development projects, as specified. SB-1085 allows developers to receive larger density bonuses and build higher-density projects, yet provide fewer affordable housing units. The bill prohibits local governments from imposing housing fees for developers' luxury bonus units. Such fees are needed to pay for critical infrastructure and public services. In addition, the bill significantly reduces parking requirements.

Senate Bill 995 (Atkins, Wiener, Caballero, Rubio) "Environmental quality: jobs and economic improvement through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011: housing projects":

SB-995 would expand the application of streamlining the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process to smaller housing projects that include at least 15 percent affordable housing. It also would broaden application and utilization of the Master Environmental Impact Report (MEIR) process, thereby reducing environmental protections.

Senate Bill 902 (Wiener) “Planning and zoning: housing development: density”:

SB-902 permits a local government to pass an ordinance, which is not subject to CEQA, to zone any parcel (including those in single-family zones) up to 10 units of residential density per parcel, at a height specified by the local government in the ordinance, if the parcel is located in a transit-rich area, a jobs-rich area, or an urban infill site, as specified. Since the ordinances would not be subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), they would likely result in unmitigated significant adverse environmental impacts.

Senate Bill 1385 (Caballero, Rubio) SB-1385 Local planning: housing: commercial zones:

This bill enacts the Neighborhood Homes Act, which establishes housing as an allowable use on any parcel zoned for office or retail uses. (Note: Unincorporated Marin already allows residential development in office and retail areas.)

Assembly Bill 1279 (Bloom) “Planning and zoning: housing development: high-opportunity areas”:

AB-1279 targets localities determined by the Dept. of Housing and Community Development to have not met their share of the regional housing needs for the reporting period. (Now that Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) units have to be built rather than just planned for, only 24 jurisdictions out of the state's 540 met RHNA goals.)

AB-1279 requires certain development sites in “high-opportunity areas”, which are designated by the Dept. of Housing & Community Development, to allow for much greater density and height of housing projects and makes these sites subject to ministerial, "use by-right" approval. "Use by right" eliminates discretionary review, public hearings and environmental review in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act. According to the Assembly analysis, if a parcel exceeds one-half acre in these prime locations (including single-family zones), a housing project that meets certain criteria would be allowed to have up to 100 residential units with a height of up to 55 feet.

** "High-Opportunity Areas" are neighborhoods with high quality public schools, proximity to well-paying jobs, and a clean and safe environment.

About AB 725 (Wicks) “General plans: housing element: moderate-income and above moderate-income housing: suburban and metropolitan jurisdictions”:

The Planning and Zoning Law requires that the housing element include, among other things, an inventory of land suitable for residential development, to be used to identify sites that can be developed for housing within the planning period and that are sufficient to provide for the jurisdiction’s share of the regional housing need determined pursuant to specified law. This bill would require that at least 25% of a metropolitan jurisdiction’s share of the regional housing need for moderate-income housing be allocated to sites with zoning that allows at least 2 units of housing, but no more than 35 units per acre of housing. The bill would require that at least 25% of a metropolitan jurisdiction’s share of the regional housing need for above moderate-income housing be allocated to sites with zoning that allows at least 2 units of housing, but no more than 35 units per acre of housing. AB-725 allows for the takeover of single-family, duplex, and small apartment neighborhoods by market-rate multi-family housing developers.

AB 2345 (Gonzalez and Chiu) “Density Bonus Law”: According to the State Density Bonus Law, local governments must grant a density bonus when an applicant for a housing development of five or more units seeks and agrees to construct a project that will contain a percentage of affordable housing.

AB-2345 revises Density Bonus Law to increase the maximum allowable density and the number of concessions and incentives a developer can seek. E.g. Developers can request a density bonus of 50% if they provide 15% very low income units, 24% low income units, 44% moderate income units. (Under current law, the highest density bonus is 35%) E.g. The bill requires a developer to receive five incentives and concessions for projects that include the following percentage of total units: 33% for lower income households, 15% for very low income households, and 33% for moderate income households in a common interest development. The bill significantly lowers parking requirements.

AB-2345 would reward developers with excessive density bonuses, concessions, and incentives, and let them erect dramatically larger luxury buildings, while providing only a few more affordable units. Developers would be allowed to circumvent well-planned local controls on density and development standards to a much greater extent.

AB 3040 (Chiu) “Local planning: regional housing need assessment”:

AB-3040 allows cities and counties to receive a specified credit towards meeting their Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) for rezoning single-family neighborhoods to allow four units per parcel. The credit would be 0.1 unit per site. This bill sets a detrimental precedent that up-zoning single-family zones is desirable.

Resources: for more articles and regular updates.

Analysis of the nine bills:

The real threat:

Example of SB-35 in Novato: Grant Street, Novato:

Exaggerated claim about 3.5M unit housing shortage: items/3-5-million-california-housing-shortage-number-is-wrong-fueling-poor-policy/

Marin Voice piece

Information: Susan Kirsch, Chair, Nix the Nine Campaign * *

Your Action is Needed:

Call Marc Levine

Starting this Monday, July 27th.
Tell him to vote NO on the housing bills before the State Assembly!
(SB 1120, SB 1085, SB995, SB902, SB1385)
His offices: 916-319-2010 and 415-479-4920

Call Mike McGuire

Starting this Monday, July 27th.
Tell him to vote NO on the housing bills before the State Senate!
(AB-1279, AB725, AB2345, AB3040)
His offices: 916-651-4002 and 415-479-6612"

MarinAgainstDensity P. O. Box 684, Kentfield, CA 94914