May 13, 2023
To: Senator Mike McGuire, 3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite 425, San Rafael, CA 94903. firstname.lastname@example.org
Re: OPPOSE Senate Bill 423 (Wiener)
Dear Senator Mike McGuire,
We urge you to oppose Senate Bill 423, which extends and expands Senate Bill 35.
In jurisdictions that have not met their Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) numbers, Senate Bill 35 (Wiener) provides a streamlined, ministerial process for approving housing developments, with a minimum number of affordable units. This streamlined approval process does not include review in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). SB-35 projects are supposed to be in compliance with the applicable objective local planning standards, including the general plan, zoning ordinances, and objective design review standards. However, when SB-35 is combined with the Density Bonus law, these local regulations are thrown out, resulting in streamlined HUGE projects that skirt height, density, setbacks, parking and other normal zoning provisions.
Moreover, due to the many fine-print exceptions to the exemptions of SB-35, these huge housing complexes are allowed in perilous locations, without any environmental review.
All but 29 cities and counties in California are subject to some streamlining under SB-35 because they have not met their RHNA, despite the fact that most have adopted compliant Housing Elements, zoned appropriately, and implemented measures and programs to promote housing at all income levels. However, cities and counties do not build housing, only developers do. Owners cannot be forced to develop their sites, if they don't want to. Hence, SB-35 punishes cities and counties for something that is entirely out of their control. Moreover, the State has assigned housing quotas that are completely unrealistic and exaggerated, sometimes 20 times larger than the last housing cycle quota, making the housing targets unattainable.
This system is not designed to increase the supply of affordable housing but rather to give total control of land use decisions to unelected real estate developers and investors so that they can achieve maximum Return On Investment (ROI), regardless of the significant adverse unavoidable impacts that communities will be forced to endure.
Senate Bill 423 makes SB 35 permanent and adds three permanent and aggressive provisions that benefit outside investor/speculators, but harm communities and the state:
- The inclusionary regulation for low-income units will drop to an insignificant 10%.
- The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) won't apply to the coast.
- The Coastal Commission will be overruled and massive luxury development will be allowed in the coast.
Once again, we urge you to oppose Senate Bill 423.
Thank you in advance for your conscientious consideration.
Very truly yours,
Sharon Rushton, President