The 2021 CA Senate Housing Package is called "Building Opportunities for All." On first read, you might think it's "opportunities for all people in need of affordable housing." You'd be mistaken. This housing package, like packages from previous years, is offering building opportunities for all developers, all real estate investors and global speculators.
Our single-family neighborhood homes and land is at risk. The thoughtlessness and heavy-handedness of the plans put our communities at risk as well.
This post focuses on two of the Senate bills that are the focus of a new southern CA group called United Neighbors. The husband wife team of Maria and Jeff Kaliban are leading the charge to educate and activate homeowners and neighborhood groups. And just in time: The Senate Housing Committee meeting is March 18, and Letters of Opposition are due by noon on Monday, March 12.
- SB-9 - CA Housing Opportunity & More Efficiency (HOME) Act (Atkins)
- Allows a single family lot to be split in two with each half authorized for a primary housing unit, an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) and a Jr. ADU. What had been a single-family home on a standard size lot can, without CEQA review or public comment, becomes site for 6 dwelling units. Lot set-back requirements are only 4 feet.
- SB-10- Planning and zoning: Housing Development. Density
- In a single-family home is in a "transit-rich area," a "jobs-rich" area or an urban infill site, the developer can construct a 10-unit complex. Yes, next to your single-family home.
The attached 8-minute video shows exactly how Sen. Aitkins and Wiener's bills would affect existing single-family residential areas. No community is exempt. City plans would be trumped with the new laws.
Consider the negative impacts of these bills:
- NO affordable housing.
- Single-family lots turned into high density sites, with 3 to 10 units per former single-family home.
- Minimum 4' setbacks means destroying trees and greenery which worsens climate change, reduces shade, increases temperatures, reduces permeable surfaces and ground water retention.
- No parking requirements.
- No requirement for developers to contribute to infrastructure.
- Where's the water going to come from? Marin is already under voluntary water conservation. Without water pressure, fire danger increases.
Yes, we need AFFORDABLE housing and there are options besides destroying single-family neighborhoods for the benefit of developers who see “underutilized land” as their next gold mine. Only a few bills meet that need. One is Senator Portantino's SB-15: Housing development: Incentives: Rezone idle retail sites.
1. Send your letter of opposition to SB9 and SB10 to Marin's legislators:
Senator Mike McGuire: firstname.lastname@example.org
Assemblymember Marc Levin: email@example.com
2. Submit your own opposition letter to the Senate Housing Committee’s portal: https://shou.senate.ca.gov/ Give yourself time to register (it’s easy) and then follow the prompts.
3. Forward this article and video to your homeowners association, neighborhood group, and other influential people and groups in your network.
4. Encourage your homeowners association or neighborhood group to sign up to be part of the United Neighbors network: https://www.unitedneighbors.net/
5. Submit an opposition letter on your homeowner or neighborhood association letterhead to the Senate Housing Committee. https://shou.senate.ca.gov/
It’s March and the momentum is building.The season goes until late summer. The Marin Post has been a long-time source of news about housing issues.Now several new groups have joined the work started by Livable California. CALE (CA Alliance of Local-Electeds) amplifies the clout of city council members. CACities for Local Control urges elected officials and City Councils throughout the state to sign a resolution in opposition to the overreach of the state and erosion of local control. Could Marin be a role model and get all cities and the Board of Supervisors to sign the Resolution?Call a member of your city council about putting the Resolution on the agenda.
Don’t sit on the sidelines on this one. Get involved.Take action on SB-9 and SB-10. Be part of saving neighborhoods and moving towards truly affordable, diverse, equitable and inclusive housing.