June 12, 2020
FROM: Sustainable TamAlmonte
TO: Marin County Council of Mayors and Councilmembers Legislative Committee
c/o Rebecca Vaughn, Town Clerk/Assistant Town Manager
Town of Corte Madera
300 Tamalpais Drive
Corte Madera, CA 94925
Re: Oppose SB-1120, SB-1085, SB-995, SB-902, AB-1279, and AB-725
Dear Chair Alice Frederiks and MCCMC Legislative Committee Members,
Please oppose six detrimental high-density housing bills in order to save single-family neighborhoods and preserve the quality of life in Marin and in California. The bills are: Senate Bill-1120, Senate Bill-1085, Senate Bill-995, Senate Bill-902, Assembly Bill-1279, and Assembly Bill-725. Currently these bills are in the California State Senate and on track to become law.
Together, the six housing bills continue the misguided trend of:
- Taking away local governments’ control and giving it to market-rate housing developers;
- Eliminating single-family zoning;
- Increasing housing density & reducing parking requirements, resulting 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 not increase the supply of affordable housing.
We are especially concerned about SB-1120 and AB-1279 because they would destroy single-family neighborhoods.
Further below are brief descriptions of each of the above referenced bills. For more detailed information about the bills and why they should be opposed, please read the attached position letters from Sustainable TamAlmonte to the California State Senate. Upon request, we will also send you copies of the Senate's or Assembly's analysis of the bills.
ACTION & TIMELINE
Regarding SB-1120, SB-1085, SB-995, and SB-902: Please send your individual, city, and MCCMC letters of opposition to:
1.The Senate Appropriations Committee in advance of their Suspense File hearing and vote on June 18th.
2.Senator Mike McGuire and other Senators in advance of the Senate Floor vote on June 26th.
3.Assemblymember Marc Levine and Other Assemblymembers when the State Legislature reconvenes on July 13th.
Regarding AB-1279: Please send your individual, city and MCCMC letters of opposition to:
1.The Senate Housing Committee before their hearing and vote in July.
Regarding AB-725: The bill is in the Senate, pending referral to a policy committee. The author of AB-725 is Assemblymember Buffy Wicks. Please call Assemblymember Wicks’ office - (916) 319-2015 - to find out the status of the bill.
Letters of opposition can be submitted through the “California Legislature Position Letter Portal”:
For calls and other advocacy activity, we have provided contact information for the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Mike McGuire, and Assemblymember Marc Levine in Addendum I of this letter.
DESCRIPTIONS OF DETRIMENTAL HIGH-DENSITY HOUSING BILLS
Senate Bill 1120 (Atkins & Wiener) "Subdivisions: tentative maps": SB-1120 destroys single-family zoning. SB-1120 requires cities and counties to permit ministerially either or both of the following in single-family zones: 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.
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. 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.
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.
Once again, please help to defeat these detrimental high-density housing bills, save our single-family neighborhoods and preserve the quality of life in Marin County and in California.
Thank you in advance for your conscientious consideration.
Very truly yours,
Sharon Rushton, Chairperson
2020 CA State Senate Appropriations Committee Members:
Senator Anthony Portantino (Chair): (916) 651-402 firstname.lastname@example.org
Brendan Hughes – (Portantino's Aide) – email@example.com
Senator Pat Bates (Vice Chair): (916) 651-4036 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Couch (Bates' Aide): email@example.com
Senator Steven Bradford: (916) 651-4035 firstname.lastname@example.org
Austin Panush (Bradford's Aide): email@example.com
Senator Jerry Hill: (916) 651-4013 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jano Dekermenjian (Hill's Aide): email@example.com
Caitlin Armstrong (Hill's Aide): firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Connie M. Leyva: (916) 651-4020 - email@example.com
Jessica Golly (Leyva's Aide): firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Wieckowski: (916) 651-4010 email@example.com
Heather Resetarits (Wieckowski's Aide): firstname.lastname@example.org
Francisco Montes (Wieckowski's Aide) - email@example.com
Senator Scott Wilk: (916) 651-4021 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Baltazar Cornejo (Wilk's Aide): email@example.com
Marin County State Representatives:
Senator Mike McGuire: (916) 651-4002 or (415) 479-6612 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol Mills (McGuire's Aide): email@example.com
Assemblymember Marc Levine: (916) 319-2010 or (415) 479- 4920
Terry Schanz (Levine's Chief of Staff & Interim Legislative Director):