Letter to the Editor: A Look at SB50

South San Francisco, CA   January 27, 2020 by a resident of South San Francisco

SB 50 legislative update: upzoning for single-family and areas near  transit stops

SB 50 is moving to the California State Senate floor and may be voted on by the State Senate on Wednesday, January 29th. If you have an opinion for or against, you should call or email your state senator and state assembly member now to express it. http://www.legislature.ca.gov/your_legislator.html

Summary:
1) Within half a mile of transit and ferry stops and other transit hubs, allows 4-5 story apartments. Within 1/4 mile of a rail station in a city of population greater than 100,000, eliminates parking requirements. [1]
2) Allows duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes in areas previously zoned single-family. [2]
3) Requires the Department of Housing and Community Development to define rules for “local flexibility plans” by July 1, 2021. Allows local local governments to submit local flexibility plans to Department of Housing and Community Development and seek certification, which (if granted) would exempt the local government from SB 50. [3]
4) Delays its provisions until January 1, 2026 in “potentially sensitive communities,” which are essentially urban lower-income communities that are concerned about gentrification and displacement, unless the community’s city or county votes to make SB 50 effective “after a specified petition and public hearing process.” [4]
5) In counties with fewer than 600,000 people, still requires up to fourplexes in areas zoned single-family, but only requires one extra story for housing near rail stations. [5]

Supporters say SB 50 will:
– increase the supply of housing and provide up to 25% affordable units in larger developments;
– free up additional affordable housing units when people move from them into newer more-expensive units;
– address the current need for additional housing in California;
– reduce long-distance commuting and greenhouse gas emissions

Opponents say:
– SB 50 requires no affordable units in developments of 10 units or less;
– increased availability of affordable housing by a “trickle down” effect is unlikely to work when so much housing is being upzoned and converted to market rate units simultaneously;
– SB 50 will increase the need for public school infrastructure and green space without providing funding for these needs;
– SB 50 will increase local traffic congestion in areas without mass transit due to increased density;
– SB 50 bypasses the local planning process by which local governments try to balance jobs, housing, schools, transit, and green space.

The Sunnyvale City Council has sent a letter opposing SB 50:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ltYnOqNl1yEnPXqP32xeS02YjKcXxr50

FOR MORE INFORMATION

SB 50 bill text: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB50

Fact or Fiction? A Look At Claims About SB 50, One Of California’s Most Controversial Housing Bills: https://www.politifact.com/california/article/2020/jan/21/fact-or-fiction-look-claims-about-one-californias-/

Capradio, “Demonstrators Protest SB50 As California Lawmakers Reintroduce Controversial Housing Law,”
http://www.capradio.org/articles/2020/01/07/demonstrators-protest-sb50-as-california-lawmakers-reintroduce-controversial-housing-law/

For:
Scott Wiener https://sd11.senate.ca.gov/

Against:
Livable California Stop SB 50: https://www.livablecalifornia.org/portfolio-items/stop-sb-50/?emci=d237a6cf-6541-ea11-a1cc-2818784d084f&emdi=2dc6763d-6741-ea11-a1cc-2818784d084f&ceid=2907525

Sources:
[1] Politifact, accessed 28 Jan 2020. https://www.politifact.com/california/article/2020/jan/21/fact-or-fiction-look-claims-about-one-californias-/
[2] Politifact, accessed 28 Jan 2020. https://www.politifact.com/california/article/2020/jan/21/fact-or-fiction-look-claims-about-one-californias-/
[3] SB 50 text, accessed 28 Jan 2020. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB50
[4] SB 50 text, accessed 28 Jan 2020. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB50
[5] Politifact, accessed 28 Jan 2020. https://www.politifact.com/california/article/2020/jan/21/fact-or-fiction-look-claims-about-one-californias-/

 

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