Depiction of what could happen to Single Family Neighborhoods if Senate Bill 9 passes.
Please contact State Legislators and urge them to oppose detrimental high-density housing bills and support beneficial housing bills ASAP in order to save single-family neighborhoods and preserve Marin's and California’s quality of life! In addition, please share this article via email and social media.
**Scroll down for "TAKE ACTION" recommendations. Scroll further down for "DESCRIPTIONS" of the bills.
Last year, numerous flawed housing bills failed to reach the governor’s desk. Many of those bills have been reintroduced this year, along with a slew of new proposals.
Together, the detrimental housing bills continue the misguided trend of:
- Taking away local governments’ control and giving it to market-rate housing developers;
- Eliminating single-family zoning, whereas single-family neighborhoods are treasured and should be protected;
- Increasing housing density, reducing or eliminating parking requirements, and overriding other local development standards, which would result in significant adverse impacts;
- Streamlining the permit review process for housing, thereby posing a significant threat to democracy, public engagement, and high-quality development;
- Exempting housing projects from thorough review in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), thereby reducing environmental protections; and
- Creating unfunded mandates that burden local governments and communities.
Moreover, the bills do little if anything to increase the supply of affordable housing.
There are a few beneficial housing bills too. These protect high or very high fire hazard zones, improve local control of setbacks, and provide funding for affordable housing.
Below is the schedule for important housing bills, which will be voted on by the Senate Housing Committee and the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development over the next two weeks. There are other housing bills being heard by other policy committees over the next 2 weeks too, but this communication is concentrating on the schedule of the Senate and Assembly housing committees.
- Thursday, April 15th at 10:30 AM - The Senate Housing Committee will vote on the following bills:
- SB-9 (Atkins) "Housing development: approvals" (Oppose); and
- SB-765 (Stern) "Accessory dwelling units: setbacks" (Support-if-Amended).
- Thursday, April 15th at 2:30 PM - The Assembly Committee on Housing & Community Development will vote on the following bills:
- AB-215 (Chiu) "Housing Element" (Oppose); and
- AB-721 (Bloom) "Covenants & restrictions: affordable housing" (Oppose).
- Thursday, April 29th at 10:30 AM - The Senate Housing Committee will vote on the following bills:
- SB-6 (Caballero) "Local planning: housing: commercial zones" (Oppose);
- SB-8 (Skinner) "Housing Crisis Act of 2019" (Oppose);
- SB-12 (McGuire) "Local government: planning and zoning: wildfires" (Support-if-Amended); and
1. When possible, please submit Letters via the CA Legislature Position Letter Portal":
The position letter deadline for submitting letters via the "CA Legislature Position Letter Portal" re: bills that will be heard on April 15th, was April 9th and has already passed. In order to advocate for or against these bills, you must contact the legislators directly at their offices.
The position letter deadline for submitting letters via the "CA Legislature Position Letter Portal" re: bills that will be heard on April 29th, must be submitted by April 23rd. You still have time to submit position letters via the portal for these bills.
Link to the "CA legislature Position Letter Portal": https://calegislation.lc.ca.gov/Advocates/
For ideas on what to write, please scroll down to descriptions of each of the above listed bills. There are links to Sustainable TamAlmonte's position letters for each of the bills, which you can use as templates.
2. Please call & email Senators & Assembly Members in order to oppose detrimental housing bills and support beneficial housing bills:
Be sure to send emails to the Senators and Assembly Members via their Aides when possible. Calls can be made and emails can be sent to legislators' offices until a bill's hearing date. If they don't pick up, please leave a message with their answering service. There is no need to make multiple calls to the same legislator. When you speak to an aide or the answering service, let them know your viewpoints about all the bills during the same call.
Contact Information for Members of the CA Senate Housing Committee:
- Senator Scott Wiener (Chair): email@example.com (916) 651-4011 or (415) 557-1300
- Ann Fryman (Senator Wiener's Aide) – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Senator Patricia Bates (Vice-Chair): email@example.com (916) 651-4036 or (949) 598-5850
- Kevin Bassett (Senator Bates' Chief of Staff) – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sarah Couch (Senator Bates' Legislative Aide) – email@example.com
- Senator Anna Caballero: firstname.lastname@example.org (916) 651- 4012 or (831) 769-8040
- Jeffery Roth (Senator Caballero's Legislative Director for Housing): email@example.com
- Senator Dave Cortese: firstname.lastname@example.org (916) 651- 4015 or (408) 286-8318
- Ryan Mickle (Senator Cortese's Legislative Aide for Housing): email@example.com
- Senator Mike McGuire: firstname.lastname@example.org (916) 651-4002 or (415) 479-6612
- Summer Cassel (Senator McGuire's Aide): email@example.com
- Daniell Bradley (Senator McGuire's Legislative Aide): firstname.lastname@example.org
- Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh: email@example.com (916) 651- 4023 or (909) 919-7731
- Senator Nancy Skinner: firstname.lastname@example.org (916) 651-4009 or (510) 286-1333
- Senator Thomas Umberg: email@example.com (916) 651- 4034 or (714) 558-3785
- Senator Bob Wieckowski: firstname.lastname@example.org (510) 794-3900
- Evita Chavez (Senator Wieckowski'a Aide) – email@example.com
Contact Information for the State Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development:
- Assembly Member David Chiu (Chair): firstname.lastname@example.org (916) 319-2017
- Assembly Member Kelly Seyarto (Vice-Chair): email@example.com (916) 319-2067
- Assembly Member Jess Gabriel: firstname.lastname@example.org (916) 319-2045
- Assembly Member Ash Kalra: email@example.com (916) 319-2027
- Assembly Member Kevin Kiley: firstname.lastname@example.org (916) 319-2006
- Assembly Member Brian Maienschein: email@example.com (916) 319-2077
- Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva: firstname.lastname@example.org (916) 319-2065
- Assembly Member Buffy Wicks: email@example.com (916) 319-2015
3. Please call and Zoom with your State Representatives:
Call and Zoom with your State representatives NOW. Yes, they’ll agree to Zoom with residents. Please call Marin's representatives and urge them to oppose detrimental housing bills and support beneficial housing bills too:
Marin's State Representatives:
- Senator Mike McGuire: firstname.lastname@example.org (916) 651-4002 or (415) 479-6612
- Summer Cassel (Senator McGuire's Aide): email@example.com
- Daniell Bradley (Senator McGuire's Legislative Aide): firstname.lastname@example.org
- Assembly Member Marc Levine: email@example.com (916) 319-2010 or (415) 479-4920
- Jacqueline Anapolsky (Assemblymember Levine's Legislative Aide): firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sierra Sheppard ((Assemblymember Levine's Legislative Aide): email@example.com
4. Please call and email your local representatives:
Marin's Local Representatives:
- Marin County Board of Supervisors: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Marin County Council of Mayors & Councilmembers Legislative Committee: email@example.com
5. Sample Script for Opposing Housing Bills:
“Hello. My name is ______. I’m calling to urge the Senator/ Assembly Member to vote “NO” on the following bills:_______ . This/These bill(s) adversely impact all Californians, are poor housing policy, and don’t address the need for truly affordable housing. Thank you.”
DESCRIPTIONS OF THE ABOVE REFERENCED HOUSING BILLS
Below are descriptions of each of the above referenced housing bills. The bills are in order of the calendar date when they will be voted on.
OPPOSE SENATE BILL 9
ABOUT SENATE BILL 9 (ATKINS) "HOUSING DEVELOPMENT: APPROVALS":
Senate Bill 9 rezones by state statute virtually all parcels within single-family residential zones in California allowing for the creation of (when combined with state Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) law) up to 6 or 8 units, further authorizes urban parcel splits, without any local discretionary hearing or review, including compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), as follows:
Senate Bill 9 requires cities and counties to permit ministerially either or both of the following in single-family zones, as long as they meet specified conditions:
- A housing development of up to two units (a duplex);
- subdivision of a parcel into two equal parcels (urban lot split).
To use this bill, the subject parcel would need to be zoned for residential uses and in a single-family zoning district. Certain hazardous, protected parcels or currently occupied parcels could not take advantage of this bill. Projects could not result in the demolition of 25% or more of existing exterior walls unless the site has not been occupied by a tenant in the last three years; a parcel smaller than 1,200 square feet; nor provide short-term rentals. CEQA would not be required. Objective requirements may be applied, provided the requirements do not prohibit the project.
SB-9 would let developers buy up single-family lots as small as 2,400 sq. ft., subdivide each lot into two 1,200 sq. ft. lots and then build 2 homes on each lot. The result would be four homes, where there used to be only one. When combined with the State Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) law, the result could be up to six, or eight units. Rear and side setbacks for new construction are limited to 4 feet.
SB-9 allows a local government to adopt ordinances to implement its duplex and urban lot split provisions and provides that the adoption of such ordinances are not subject to CEQA.
SB-9 significantly lowers parking requirements and eliminates parking requirements in many areas.
SB-9 disclaims the state's responsibility for providing reimbursement by citing local governments’ authority to charge for the costs of implementing the bill's provisions
REASONS TO OPPOSE SENATE BILL 9:
- Increasing Housing Density Is The Wrong Solution To Meet Our Affordable Housing Needs;
- SB-9 Eliminates Single-Family Zoning And Could Ruin Single-Family Neighborhoods, Which Are Greatly Treasured And Should Be Protected;
- SB-9 Takes Away Local Control Of Land Use And Gives It To Market-Rate Housing Developers;
- Inequitable impacts;
- Destabilizing Economic Impacts;
- Ministerial Approval Streamlines The Permit Review Process For Housing Development And Stifles Democracy, Discretionary Review, Public Engagement, Environmental Review, & High-Quality Development;
- SB-9 Would Increase The Risk Of Significant Adverse Impacts;
- SB-9 Jeopardizes High Fire Hazard Areas;
- SB-9 Increases Traffic Congestion And Greenhouse Gas Emissions;
- SB-9 Would Create Unfunded Mandates;
- SB-9 Wrongly Assumes That Residents Who Live Near Bus Stops Don’t Need Vehicles And Therefore Don’t Need Parking Spaces;
- Weakening The California Environmental Quality Act Is Misguided;
- M. Voters Deserve A Voice On Proposed Elimination Of Single-Family Zoning.
**For more detailed information, please click HERE to read Sustainable TamAlmonte's letter re: Oppose SB-9.
“Hello. My name is ______. I’m calling to urge the Senator to vote “NO” on SB-9 . This bill adversely impacts all Californians, is poor housing policy, and doesn’t address the need for truly affordable housing. Thank you.”
SUPPORT-IF-AMENDED SENATE BILL 765
ABOUT SENATE BILL 765 (STERN) "ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS : SETBACKS":
New Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) legislation was enacted in 2019 and went into effect in 2020. Before 2020, local governments could determine development standards (Eg. setbacks, parking requirements, height, etc.), Floor Area Ratios (FAR), and lot coverage for Accessory Dwelling Units. However, the new ADU law took away almost all local control of ADUs, which, as proven in prior communications, has been not only detrimental but perilous. SB-765 seeks to improve local control of setbacks.
To understand the perils of the new ADU law, please click HERE to read Sharon Rushton's article entitled; "Protect Neighborhoods in High Fire Zones from Marin County's Proposed Second Unit Regulations". (The County's regulations incorporate the new ADU legislation.)
The recently enacted ADU legislation prohibits a local agency’s accessory dwelling unit ordinance from imposing a setback requirement of more than 4 feet from the side and rear lot lines for an accessory dwelling unit that is not converted from an existing structure or a new structure constructed in the same location and to the same dimensions as an existing structure.
This bill would remove the above-described prohibition on a local agency’s accessory dwelling unit ordinance, and would instead provide that the rear and side yard setback requirements for accessory dwelling units may be set by the local agency. The bill would authorize an accessory dwelling unit applicant to submit a request to the local agency for an alternative rear and side yard setback requirement if the local agency’s setback requirements make the building of the accessory dwelling unit infeasible. The bill would prohibit any rear and side yard setback requirements established pursuant to these provisions from being greater than those in effect as of January 1, 2020. The bill would specify that if the local agency did not have an accessory dwelling unit ordinance as of January 1, 2020, the applicable rear and side yard setback requirement is 4 feet.
REASONS TO SUPPORT-IF-AMENDED SENATE BILL 765:
SB-765 is a big step in the right direction but should go further in allowing local governments to determine proper setbacks.
Property setbacks have many benefits both aesthetically and functionally. Setbacks help with:
- Better protection of public safety: Having space between houses and streets, etc., ensures that in the case of a fire or other emergencies, first responders can access the property and residents can evacuate rapidly and safely.
- Better preservation of the environment: For residential properties that are located adjacent to streams, wetlands, forests, and other natural habitat, proper setbacks are critical for the wellbeing of the habitat and wildlife, including endangered species, that live there.
- Better services: Proper setbacks ensure that maintenance personnel can safely and easily access the property for such services as sewer, utilities, and cable, etc.
- Better ventilation and public health: Not having a house squished up against another house or roadways gives residents cleaner air. This means residents won’t be breathing in toxic exhaust or a neighbor’s smoking habit.
- Better lighting: Property setbacks ensure that there is plenty of space around dwellings to bring in natural light and better visual access.
- Better sound insolation: Property setbacks help ensure better sound insulation by building away from busy intersections and other noisy environments.
- Better landscape: Landscaping makes a home more inviting and gives a sense of ease. Gardens provide residents with a place to enjoy the outdoors and commune with nature. They give children a place to play. Trees remove carbon from the air and help to cool our communities. Permeable ground cover helps to replenish groundwater resources, restore hydrologic balance and reduce runoff volume.
- Additional benefits: Property setbacks help ensure buildings don’t fall over each other in the case of a natural disaster, like an earthquake or fire. They encourage outdoor activities in public areas, and help keep the sanity of society by giving people enough room to roam.
Senate Bill 765 should be amended, so that the following provisions are eliminated: 1) The provision that prohibits any rear and side yard setback requirements from being greater than those in effect as of January 1, 2020; and 2) The provision that requires rear and side yard setbacks to be limited to 4 feet if the local agency did not have an accessory dwelling unit ordinance as of January 1, 2020.
**Please click HERE to read Sustainable TamAlmonte's letter re: Support-if-Amended SB-765
“Hello. My name is ______. I’m calling to urge the Senator to "Support-if-Amended" SB-765. This bill is a step in the right direction but does not go far enough in allowing local governments to determine proper setbacks. Please ask the Senator to lobby for amendments to the bill that will eliminate the following provisions: 1) The provision that prohibits any rear and side yard setback requirements from being greater than those in effect as of January 1, 2020; and 2) The provision that requires rear and side yard setbacks to be limited to 4 feet if the local agency did not have an accessory dwelling unit ordinance as of January 1, 2020. Thank you."
OPPOSE ASSEMBLY BILL 215
ABOUT AB-215 (CHIU) "PLANNING & ZONING: COMMERCIAL ZONING: HOUSING DEVELOPMENT":
Assembly Bill 215 further penalizes jurisdictions that don’t meet their Regional Housing Needs Allocations (RHNA). The bill requires cities/counties to undertake a mid-cycle housing element consultation to check the jurisdiction's progress toward fulfilling their housing quotas. Jurisdictions that fall behind must attain a "prohousing" designation by adopting housing policies that facilitate planning, approval or construction of housing, such as offering local financial incentives, lowering parking requirements, and streamlining the permit process with by-right approvals.
REASONS TO OPPOSE ASSEMBLY BILL 215:
Throughout California, the Regional Housing Needs Allocations (RHNA) for the 2023-2031 cycle are unprecedented, unrealistic, flawed and inflated.
Marin's total estimated housing allocation of over 14k units for the 2023-2031 RHNA cycle is over 6 times as large as that for the last 2015-2023 cycle, which was 2,298 units. For some individual jurisdictions, it's even worse. Unincorporated Marin’s new housing quota of 3,510 units is 20 times larger than that for the last RHNA cycle, which was 185 units.
During the last Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) cycle (2015-2023), over 400 of California’s 480 municipalities have not reached their RHNA targets. New laws require local jurisdictions to not only identify RHNA sites but, in addition, to ensure that new housing is actually constructed on the sites. Yet, local governments are not developers and cannot force private property owners to build housing units. Indeed, the Embarcadero Institute found that the shortage of housing resulted not from a failure by cities to issue housing permits, but rather a failure by the state to fund and support affordable housing.
Moreover, non-performance in a RHNA income category triggers a streamlined approval process per Senate Bill 35 (2017), which lessens local communities’ control over land use, environmental protections, and quality development.
By issuing such inflated 2023-2031 allocations without providing funds for affordable housing, the State and Regional Agencies are setting local governments up to fail again.
Rather than provide much-needed State funding, Assembly Bill 215 further penalizes jurisdictions that don’t meet their RHNA housing quotas. As mentioned, a jurisdiction, which fails to adequately progress toward meeting it’s RHNA target, must attain a “prohousing” designation by adopting housing policies that facilitate planning, approval, or construction of housing, such as lowering parking requirements, and streamlining the permit process with by-right approvals.
Such requirements continue the misguided trend to:
- Take away local governments’ control of land use and give it to housing developers;
- Increase housing density and override local development standards (parking, height, set-backs, etc.), which would result in significant adverse impacts;
- Streamline the permit review process, thereby posing a significant threat to democracy, public engagement, and high-quality development;
- Exempt housing projects from thorough review in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act, thereby reducing environmental protections; and
- Create unfunded mandates that burden local governments and communities.
**Please click HERE to read Sustainable TamAlmonte's Letter re: Oppose AB-215.
“Hello. My name is ______. I’m calling to urge the Assembly Member to vote “NO” on AB-215. This bill adversely impacts all Californians, is poor housing policy, and doesn’t address the need for truly affordable housing. Thank you.”
OPPOSE ASSEMBLY BILL 721
ABOUT AB-721 (BLOOM) "COVENANTS & RESTRICTIONS: AFFORDABLE HOUSING":
Assembly Bill 721 would make any private recorded covenants, conditions, restrictions, or private limits on the use of private or publicly owned land contained in any deed, contract, security instrument, or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale that restricts the number or size of the residences that may be built on the property, or that restricts the number of persons who may reside on the property unenforceable against the owner of an affordable housing development, as defined.
REASONS TO OPPOSE ASSEMBLY BILL 721:
Assembly Bill 721 is poor policy and an example of legislators seeking to micro-manage local affairs and give control of land use to developers. Whereas such control should rightfully remain with local governments and communities.
There are many reasons why lowering the density, restricting the number of units, and limiting the number of residents are beneficial. These reasons include, but are not limited to, preserving public health and safety, the environment, neighborhood character, and quality of life, as well as avoiding significant adverse impacts. AB-721 would hinder this capability.
**Please click HERE to read Sustainable TamAlmonte's letter re: Oppose AB-721.
“Hello. My name is ______. I’m calling to urge the Assembly Member to vote “NO” on AB-721. This bill adversely impacts all Californians, is poor housing policy, and doesn’t address the need for truly affordable housing. Thank you.”
OPPOSE SENATE BILL 6
ABOUT SB-6 (CABALLERO) "LOCAL PLANNING: HOUSING: COMMERCIAL ZONES":
Senate Bill 6 enacts, until January 1, 2029, the “Neighborhood Homes Act,” which establishes a housing development project as an allowable use on a “neighborhood lot”, which is defined as a parcel within a commercial zone where office and retail uses are permitted, so long as the parcel is not adjacent to an industrial use. A housing development project on a neighborhood lot must comply with numerous requirements.
A housing development project may consist of entirely residential units or a mix of retail commercial, office, or residential uses, except that the project cannot include a hotel or other transient lodging and must devote at least 50% of the square footage of the project to residential uses. Additionally, the local agency must require that the rental of any unit is for a term longer than 30 days.
SB 6 allows housing developments on neighborhood lots to be eligible for SB 35’s streamlined ministerial approval process if it meets certain requirements. SB-35 requires cities/counties to fast-track residential and mixed-use projects that meet certain affordability, objective, and other standards. SB-35 exempts projects from environmental review in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), reduces parking requirements
REASONS TO OPPOSE SENATE BILL 6:
It is true, in concept, that repurposing retail and office buildings for residential use can be beneficial. However, this should not be a State mandate. Such a change in the allowable use should only be determined by local governments, within the parameters of a traditional permit approval process (without streamlining), and include full CEQA review.
- SB-6 undermines local control of land use;
- SB-6 contravenes the fundamental zoning principle that the designation of allowable uses is integral to protecting public welfare;
- Ministerial approval streamlines the permit review process for housing development and stifles democracy, discretionary review, public engagement, environmental review, & high-quality development;
- SB-6 dramatically increases density, resulting in greater risk of adverse impacts, loss of neighborhood character, and decline in quality of life;
- SB-6 Jeopardizes High & Very High Fire Hazard Zones;
- SB-6 exempts development from environmental review in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act, increases the risk of significant adverse impacts and thereby endangers the environment, wildlife, and public health and safety;
- SB-6 Would Create Unfunded Mandates.
**For more detailed information, please click HERE to read Sustainable TamAlmonte's letter re: Oppose SB-6.
“Hello. My name is ______. I’m calling to urge the Senator to vote “NO” on SB-6. This bill adversely impacts all Californians, is poor housing policy, and doesn’t address the need for truly affordable housing. Thank you.”
OPPOSE SENATE BILL 8
ABOUT OPPOSE SB-8 (SKINNER) "HOUSING CRISIS ACT OF 2019":
Senate Bill 8 extends and expands the Housing Crisis Act (HCA) of 2019. SB-8 extends the sunset of the Housing Crisis Act of 2019 by five years, from January 1, 2025 to January 1, 2030. The Housing Crisis Act suspends certain local governments’ restrictions on development of new housing and expedites the permitting of housing. SB-8 further expands the reach of the Act to include single-family homes and takes away even more local planning decisions and capabilities.
What does the "Housing Crisis Act of 2019" do?
“The Housing Crisis Act of 2019” (HCA) was intended to reduce the time it takes to approve housing developments in California.
The HCA is complex and is bound to other laws including the Housing Density Bonus Law. The Act takes away significant authority from cities and counties, reducing their review and approval powers over developments that shape their communities. This shift is reinforced in three ways:
- Freezes the ability of local governments to downzone, adopt new development standards, or change land-use in residential and mixed-use areas if the change results in less-intensive uses;
- Allows developers to request approval of housing developments that exceed density and design controls of the underlying zoning, if the existing zoning is in conflict with the General Plan or a Specific Plan;
- Expedites the permitting process for housing development and limits the list of application materials that cities can review.
In addition, the Housing Crisis Act does the following:
- Limits a city’s or county’s ability to adopt zoning that reduces residential density, or to impose design standards that limit the housing units allowed. Any such zoning changes made by a city after January 1, 2020, in residential or mixed-use areas, would be preempted.
- Pre-empts local zoning if it conflicts with a General Plan or the land-use element of a Specific Plan, allowing proposed housing developments to override local zoning.
- Limits public hearings to five, reduces the criteria against which a municipality can review in a development application, and restricts the timeline during which a denial can be issued.
- Limits cities’ and counties’ ability to charge application and impact fees.
What does Senate Bill 8 do?
SB-8 enlarges the reach of the Housing Crisis Act. It expands the definition of a “housing development project” to include both discretionary and ministerial projects, as well as projects to construct single family dwelling units. The bill further limits the number of appeals and public meetings that can be held related to density bonus law. SB-8 makes additional technical changes and clarifications to the Housing Crisis Act.
REASONS TO OPPOSE SENATE BILL 8:
The Housing Crisis Act of 2019 and Senate Bill 8 undermine the ability of local governments to manage land use planning decisions and govern responsibly. The measures do not result in providing more affordable housing, as claimed by the legislation's authors. Instead, they expedite the development process and increase poorly planned and designed development for the benefit of developers’ profitability. The Act and the proposed bill are fundamentally flawed. The Housing Crisis Act of 2019 should be repealed, rather than extended and expanded.
Senate Bill 8 should be opposed for the following reasons:
- It is too soon to extend the sunset of the Housing Crisis Act (HCA);
- SB-8 does more than clarify;
- SB-8 poses a significant threat to local control, democracy, and public engagement;
- SB-8 denies the public's right to participatein City/County Government;
- SB-8 imposes unreasonable timelines;
- SB-8 imposes unequal legal burdens of proof;
- SB-8 creates a new type of housing project application;
- SB-8 freezes impact fees;
- SB-8 prohibits a reduction in intensity of land use; and
- SB-9 does not require developers to pass housing production cost savings on to consumers.
**For more detailed information, please click HERE to read Sustainable TamAlmonte's letter re: Oppose SB-8
SUPPORT-IF-AMENDED SENATE BILL 12
ABOUT SENATE BILL 12 (MCGUIRE) "LOCAL GOVERNMENT: PLANNING: WILDFIRES":
Senate Bill 12 imposes certain fire hazard planning responsibilities on local governments and requires cities and counties to make specified findings on fire standards prior to permitting development in very high fire risk areas, which the bill defines to be the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones (VHFHSZ) in both the State Responsibility Areas (SRA) and the Local Responsibility Areas (LRA).
SB-12 imposes new planning requirements on local governments. SB-12 requires each city or county, upon the next revision of the housing element or local hazard mitigation plan on or after July 1, 2024, whichever occurs first, to review and update its safety element to include a comprehensive retrofit strategy that includes specified contents.
Wildfire risk reduction standards:
SB-12 prohibits cities and counties from approving any new residential ministerial or discretionary permits, discretionary entitlements, tentative subdivision or parcel maps, or development agreement in VHFHSZ unless the city or county finds that the project and all structures within the project are protected from wildfire risk in accordance with specified “wildfire risk reduction standards” contained in this bill, or standards adopted by a local jurisdiction that meet or exceed those standards.
Most Important - Regional housing needs allocation:
Beginning with the seventh cycle for revising local housing elements, SB-12 amends the regional housing needs allocation (RHNA) process to:
- Direct each regional housing needs allocation plan to include as a factor the amount of land in each member jurisdiction that is within a very high fire risk area by allocating a lower proportion of housing to a jurisdiction if the jurisdiction would otherwise need to identify lands within a very high fire risk area as adequate sites to meet its housing need allocation, as specified.
- Requires the regional housing needs allocation plan to further the objective of promoting resilient communities. Furthering this objective must include reducing development pressure within very high fire risk areas.
SB-12 clarifies that local governments may impose more stringent standards than those set out in the bill, and clarifies that a local government may issue a final subdivision map without making the findings in the bill if the tentative map or parcel map met the required standards when it was deemed complete.
SB-12 also directs CALFIRE to distribute grant funds, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to provide assistance to small jurisdictions in updating planning documents and complying with other provisions of the bill, as specified.
SB-12 modifies the standards adopted by the Board under PRC 4290 to access from the perimeters to all residential, commercial, and industrial building construction, and requires the Board’s regulations to conform as nearly as practicable with the wildfire risk reduction standards adopted by the State Fire Marshal under the bill.
SB-12 makes other technical and conforming changes.
REASONS TO SUPPORT-IF-AMENDED SB-12:
Senate Bill 12 is a step in the right direction to protect high fire risk areas but needs to be amended. This is because the bill protects communities in "Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones" (VHFHSZ) but it does not protect those in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) or "High Fire Hazard Zones".
Many communities across the State are in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) and High Fire Zones. These communities are extremely perilous and should be protected from more intense development too.
The Marin Community Wildfire Protection Plan states; “Homes and structures located anywhere in and around the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) are at a higher risk for exposure to wildland fire. Fire can spread rapidly throughout WUI areas through adjacent structures and/or vegetation, or by ember dispersion.” “Because of the mix and density of structure and natural fuels combined with limited access and egress routes, fire management becomes more complex in WUI environments. Many of the access roads within the WUI are narrow and winding and are often on hillsides with overgrown vegetation, making it even more difficult and costly to reduce fire hazards, fight wildfires, and protect homes and lives in these areas.”
If development is only restricted in "Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones" (VHFHSZ), then, when cities and counties are updating their Housing Elements (AKA Housing Plans), they may designate even more housing density to areas in the dangerous Wildland Urban Interface or High Fire Hazard Zones, since housing in the VHFHSZ zones would be restricted or prohibited.
**Please click HERE to read Sustainable TamAlmonte's letter re: Support-If-Amended Senate Bill 12.
"Hello. My name is ______. I’m calling to urge the Senator to "Support-if-Amended" SB-12. This bill is a step in the right direction but does not protect communities in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) or High Fire Hazard Zones. Please ask the Senator to lobby for amendments to the bill, such that the WUI and high fire zones are protected to the same degree as Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones. Thank you."
Thank you in advance for taking action. Together we can make a difference!