South San Francisco, CA July 21, 2021 by Marty Romero, Good and Welfare Director, Winston Manor Community Association
June 14, 2021
Honorable Mayor Mark Addiego and City Council Members
City of South San Francisco
400 Grand Avenue
South San Francisco, CA 94080
RE: SENATE BILL(s) No. 9 and 10
Mayor Addiego and Members of the City Council:
The Board of Directors of the Winston Manor Community Association “WMCA”, of the City of South San Francisco “SSF”, have been closely following the progress of Senate Bills 9 & 10 “Bills”. We have serious concerns regarding the adverse impact and change in character to existing residential neighborhoods, which will occur if these Bills are passed by the California State Senate “Senate”. The effect of these Bills will permanently decrease the quality of life in the City of SSF and County of San Mateo, in every single-family residential community.
These Bills are specifically requiring a mandated change in zoning, which will result in a significant increase in density for all existing single-family residential lots. These are homes that were purchased by residents who have raised families in SSF, for many generations. Each Bill is an attempt to modify the character and integrity of existing single-family neighborhoods, by allowing up to 10 units of residential density per parcel.
The Senate is attempting to eliminate single-family homes and convert them into multifamily housing projects. Eventually, when a property is passed from current residents to future generations, these Bills will significantly change the character of existing single-family neighborhoods. This will occur through an excessive increase in density and infill development, which these Bills will allow.
The areas in the State of California that the Senate is targeting through these Bills, are specifically located near Cities that are in “transit-rich / job rich areas”. The Bills are not targeting Chico or Redding or any other small city in rural communities. These Bills are specifically targeting suburban cities that are near a large city like San Francisco.
The Senate intends to modify zoning in suburban areas like SSF, to create additional housing for built out urban areas like San Francisco. This can only be accomplished through an increase in density in suburban locations like South San Francisco.
It is obvious that the true purpose of these Bills is to create additional housing in suburban areas, for employees who work for large companies who do business in the City of San Francisco. The Bills are not designed to solve the affordable housing problem. Although the creation of affordable housing is “implied” in the Bills, an increase in affordable housing will not be the result.
These Bills will have a reverse effect on affordable housing and is designed to displace lower income individuals. The Bills as designed will increase housing availability for the wealthy, by replacing existing housing that is currently affordable, at the expense of lower income individuals.
The Bills are not a solution to increase affordable housing. The loss of single-family homes that are currently affordable will occur and will be replaced with higher density, higher cost housing. This will not reduce the cost of housing or the availability of affordable housing. Supply and demand will not go away and the cost for housing will still be subject to market demand. The Bills will create additional housing, albeit at a higher cost, which will be unaffordable to lower income individuals.
Future generations of lower income residents and many who currently reside in SSF, will be forced to leave. The quality of life that current residents have enjoyed and worked very hard to acquire will also be lost for future generations.
Future generations will gradually see significant changes, which will occur to the character and identity of the neighborhoods. The increase in density will result in higher density developments on small lots, with no usable outdoor space. A backyard for children will be eliminated and will no longer exist. Of course, children can always play in the streets. On street parking will not be sufficient to serve the additional units and on-site parking will be inadequate to support a 10-unit development. Parking in a suburban area will be worse than urban areas.
What will happen when existing lower cost housing is eliminated and replaced with high cost, high density housing? The result is the displacement and gentrification of lower income individuals, who will be forced out of their homes in SSF, when the property is sold. When the new developments have been constructed, they will not be able to afford to live in the new higher cost housing that has replaced the lower cost housing. This is how gentrification will result from these Bills.
The deceptive language of the Bills significantly misrepresents the true intent of the Bills. The Bills have been designed to indirectly allow housing discrimination to occur to lower income individuals. By eliminating affordable housing and replacing it with higher cost housing, only the wealthy will be able to afford the increase in cost of the new developments.
It is unfortunate that the WMCA has only witnessed inaction and indecision by SSF City Council regarding these Bills. The “wait and see approach” taken by the SSF City Council, regarding the outcome of the Bills, is not acceptable. As our elected officials, City Council must take a position and clearly indicate if they support or oppose each of these Bills.
Now is not the time to “wait and see” how and when the Senate will dictate policy to the City of SSF. The Senate is trying to implement land recycling in suburban areas and impose their will on local City Government, regarding land use decisions and density allowance in suburban areas.
These Bills are directly aimed at the City of SSF and will adversely affect every single-family home in the city. Are you going to allow this to occur without a fight? The Senate is taking away the decision-making authority regarding zoning and housing, from local City Government. It is time for you as our elected representatives to stand up and fight back.
For the record, it is the position of the Board of Directors of the WMCA that these Bills are detrimental to the well-being of the community and to the economic welfare for current and future residents of the City of SSF. Therefore, we strongly recommend that the Bills should not be supported by SSF City Council.
We respectfully request that the SSF City Council state for the record their joint and individual position regarding Senate Bills 9 and 10. Based on the outcome of your decision, we also request that the Senate be notified of the position that SSF City Council has taken, as part of the permanent record of the Senate.
We make this request as concerned citizens and members of the community. Please schedule and discuss this matter in a public meeting, so we may witness the vote and how each member of City Council will decide, in support or in opposition to these Bills.
As voters in the City of SSF we need to understand the reasoning behind your decision and justification for the position taken by each member of the SSF City Council. It is important for future elections that we fully understand the basis for your position and decision, both jointly and individually, as our elected representatives.
Respectfully submitted by the Board of Directors of the Winston Manor Community Association, City of South San Francisco.
/s/ Martin Romero
Good and Welfare Director
Winston Manor Community Association