Terrible housing bill slowed down — for now

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

California came within days of adopting a law that would have taken away the right of the public to have a hearing about major real estate developments.

The measure would have not only threatened neighborhoods suffering from displacement linked to luxury housing; it would also have prevented planners and community activists to negotiate and demand higher level of affordable housing.

Those negotiations are common in SF, and have often convinced developers to add more affordability and change their plans.

Initially, objections by environmental, labor organizations, and local governments were disregarded by Governor Brown and the legislators. But last night the proposal was stopped (at least temporarily) by a last minute mobilization of grassroots activists from across the state.

The proposal, known as “by right” development, was introduced less than a month ago by Brown. It was on a fast track for approval because it was attached to the state budget, which must be approved by June 15.

Governor Brown described the proposal as an “affordable housing” plan because it required qualifying projects to offer some inclusionary housing – but as little as five to ten percent for sites within a half mile of a transit stop (housing further away from transit would be need to provide ten to 20 percent inclusionary housing – steering more luxury housing nearest to transit).

The proposal was called “by right” development because if a projects includes the minimum affordable housing requirements, developers would have the “right” to build whatever the zoning allowed. No environmental impact analysis. No public hearings. No opportunity to publicly raise concerns about demolitions of housing, lost jobs, or impacts on small businesses… (more)

This year is not business as usual for politicians and their supporters.

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