Is California about to Clobber Local Planning Control?

By Zelda Bronstein : citywatch – excerpt

PLANNING–The gradual decimation of local voice in planning has become accepted policy in Sacramento. The State Senate is now considering two dangerous bills, SB 35 and SB 167, that together severely curtail democratic control of housing.

SB 35: Housing Accountability and Affordability Act (Wiener)

SB 35 is pro-traffic congestion. It would prohibit cities from requiring parking in a “streamlined development approved pursuant” to SB 35, located within a half-mile of public transit, in an architecturally and historically significant historic district, when on-street parking permits are required but not offered to the occupants of the project, and when there is a car share vehicle located within one block of the development. Other projects approved under the measure would be limited to one space per unit…

Supporters include Bay Area Council, the lobby shop of the Bay Area’s biggest employers; BAC’s Silicon Valley counterpart, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group; the San Francisco and LA Chambers of Commerce; the Council of Infill Builders; several nonprofit housing organizations, including the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California and BRIDGE Housing; the Natural Resources Defense Council; the California League of Conservation Voters; and a panoply of YIMBY groups, including East Bay Forward and YIMBY Action.

Opponents include the Sierra Club; the League of California Cities; the Council of Community Housing Organizations; the California Fire Chiefs Association; the Fire Districts Association of California; a handful of cities, including Hayward, Pasadena, and Santa Rosa; the Marin County Council of Mayors and Councilmembers; and many building trades organizations, including IBEW Locals 1245, 18, 465 and 551, and the Western States Council of Sheet Metal Workers…

If these bills—especially SB 35—become law, Californians will have lost a good deal of their right to a say the life and governance of the communities in which they live.

(Zelda Bronstein, a journalist and a former chair of the Berkeley Planning Commission, writes about politics and culture in the Bay Area and beyond. This piece was first published in Berkeley Daily Planet and Marin Post and most recently at New Geography) ... (more)

Please consider signing this Petition to Oppose SB35:
https://www.change.org/p/assem blymember-aquiar-curry-oppose-sb-35-unless-amended

And write letters if you can to the Assemblymembers listed here: http://assembly.ca.gov/assemblymembers

Sample message:

OPPOSE SB35 – PROTECT LOCAL CONTROL OVER ZONING. California citizens oppose by-right laws that override our local zoning and use policies and guidelines. Our city government has spent a lot of time and energy to create a specific plan and the citizens have had a hand in the decision-making process. It is not right for the state to step in and override our efforts. Many cities want to opt out of the by-right rules. That should tell you SB35 is not popular. We oppose this legislation.

Sincerely,

(signature), Concerned Citizen

SB 167: Housing Accountability Act (Skinner)

This bill, introduced by State Senator Nancy Skinner, who represents Berkeley and other East Bay cities, and sponsored by the Bay Area Renters Federation (BARF), is a companion to SB 35. It would prohibit cities from disapproving a housing project containing units affordable to very low-, low- or moderate-income renters, or conditioning the approval in a manner that renders the project financially infeasible, unless, among other things, the city has met or exceeded its share of regional housing needs for the relevant income category. (As of November 2016, HUD defined a moderate-income household of four people in Alameda County as one earning under $112,300 a year.)… (more)

RELATED:
LA Homelessness … and Rents … Will Skyrocket Under New Housing Proposals

 

Plan Bay Area 2040 Draft Plan

If you are one of the unhappy San Francisco residents or a middle class citizen this plan will not please you.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) will host an open house to receive comments regarding Plan Bay Area 2040.  The open house is Wednesday, May 17, 2017 between 6:30pm and 8:30pm at the MTC headquarters at 375 Beal Street ( about a 10 minute walk for Embarcadero Station). DRAFT PLAN LINK

The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) is now available; comment on the DEIR and the Draft Plan through June 1.

Some statistics include:
*  501,000 jobs added between 2011 and 2015
*  65,000 housing units built between 2011 and 2015
*  Regionally 1 house built for every 8 jobs created.

HOUSING
Where will the region plan for the 820,000 new households forecasted between 2010 and 2040.  Regionally by 2040, 3.4 million households are forecasted. 46% will be in the “Big 3 Cities”  — SF, Oakland, San Jose.

JOBS
1.3 million new jobs  (36% in the Big  3 Cities)

So what does it all mean?  Climate Change, Housing costs and displacement, Economic Development and Environmental Impact and Transportation.

A question raised at a recent MTC committee meeting was: Should cities seeking economic development take responsibility for housing?  (Think the Menlo Park Facebook Expansion).  The local Menlo Park approval for 6,000 more jobs has regional impact.

No mention of a Public Regional Express Bus System to move the population.   More Private Commuter buses operating on your residential street?

Draft Plan and Draft EIR at Plan Bay Area 2040 Draft Plan

RELATED:

It’s not surprising that President Donald Trump’s proposed tax plan would hollow out the middle class. Income tax reductions will be robust for corporations and those in the highest income brackets. Others won’t fare so well.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren warns of the demise of the middle class in her book, “This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class.” She writes about growing up in the 1950s, when minimum wage supported a family of four. In 2017, minimum wage can’t support a household of two.

But hold on a minute before simply bashing Trump. Are you surprised that progressive California Democrats are implementing strategies that increase economic inequality?…

Now Plan Bay Area 2040’s “Regional Forecast of Jobs, Population and Housing” shows the rich and the poor growing to the highest numbers, but not the middle. The historic bell-shaped curve is inverted…

The plan forecasts: “The ‘hollowing out’ of the middle is projected to continue over the next 25 years. Household growth will be strongest in the highest income category, reflecting the expected strength of growth in high-wage sectors combined with non-wage income — interest, dividends, capital gains, transfers.”…

Further: “Household growth will also be high in the lowest-wage category, reflecting occupational shifts, wages stagnation, as well as the retirement of seniors without pension assets.”…(more)

 

What Is The Market Demand For Micro Housing In San Francisco?

By Scott Beyer : forbes – excerpt

San Francisco, CA–There’s no doubt that the demand for living in San Francisco would, under an open market, create far more housing; this, in essence, is what the high prices and Nimby battles are all about. But one remaining mystery would be—void of the regulatory barriers, what type of housing would all this demand create? Existing data and anecdotal observation suggests that a lot of it would be micro housing.

Indeed, micro units—which vary by definition, but are generally thought to be studio apartments of under 300 square feet—are taking off in U.S. cities. Before Seattle’s government effectively regulated them away, they were accounting for a quarter of the city’s new housing starts. Other prominent projects have gone up in New York City, Austin, Denver, and other places where density and high prices require smaller living arrangements. The nation’s largest micro-unit project is even being built near downtown Houston, a city where big, cheap sprawl housing is still readily available, even close in (although some of the project’s units have since been converted to condo hotels)… (more)

Breed’s oddly conservative attack on income taxes

tim redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Supes will start to look at Trump’s budget after board prez makes surprisingly conservative speech against progressive taxes

So now we know for sure what Donald Trump and the Republicans have in mind for their first budget:  Cut everything that is good for cities, for the environment, and for poor and working-class people, and give more money to the rich and the military. (Oh, and to his weekends in Florida, which will cost the government more than the cuts to senior services and the arts.).

We don’t know exactly yet how much this will cost San Francisco, but it’s going to be a big number. And equally important, San Francisco will need to spend more money, not less, on protecting vulnerable communities; just think about health care, and how many more people will be lining up at SF General if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

So far, the mayor hasn’t said much about how he’s going to address the problem, but we will hear from his office, and from the controller, Thursday/23 at a special Budget and Finance Subcommittee hearing. It starts at 1pm in the Board chambers…

Today, San Francisco has some of the worst economic inequality in history, and is up there with countries like Rwanda for radical gaps between the rich and the poor. It’s an embarrassment – and one reason for the high housing costs and huge numbers of homeless people on the streets…(more)

There are a few ideas floating around City Hall about raising revenues, most having to do with increasing taxes one way or another. It will be interesting to see which scheme wins approval at City Hall this time. It will also be interesting to see how the voters feel about taxing themselves. Rejection of the sales tax increase proved that. They seem more likely to favor increasing taxes on the wealthy. The hungry SFMTA may have to take a seat in the back if voters find it more important to replace federal funding for health care, housing and food. There is also widespread concern over loss of funding for the environment, education and the arts.

 

Voters had no stomach for raising sales tax last time they faced that choice. So far they seem to favor taxing the rich. Of course a lot of these options depend on changes in Sacramento. We anticipate a lot of public debate before this is settled. Outrageously high public servant salaries (over 100K plus 50K in benefits) do not help City Hall’s argument that it needs more money. The high salaries add to the pension problem that we know is looming large. These are issues that should be addressed before City Hall asks for more taxes.

A Day Without a Woman rallies unite thousands in Bay Area and beyond

By Kevin Fagan, Filipa Ioannou and Jenna Lyons : sfgate – excerpt (includes video)

Rallies took place around the Bay Area as part of International Women’s Day.

The Women’s March that spilled millions into the streets in January was no one-off, thousands of women loudly declared Wednesday from one end of the country to the other. It was the beginning of a movement.

From San Francisco to Washington, D.C., they punched home their point with their own bodies, gathering in protests to show what life is like at the workplace without women… (more)

 

Transportation Demand Management Program Takes Effect in SF: How Will Your Project Comply?

by Daniel Gershwin : jdsupra – excerpt – (graphic included)

On February 7th, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the implementing ordinance for San Francisco’s Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Program. Pending the Mayor’s approval, the TDM Program will take effect in March. What does this mean for project sponsors?

Developers must now incorporate TDM features into their projects, chosen from a menu of options in the City’s adopted TDM Program Standards. As the number of on-site parking spaces proposed for a project increases, developers must include more TDM features  such as bicycle parking and amenities, car-share parking, and vanpool programs.

Menu of Options from TDM Program Standards:

To see how these new requirements would apply to your project, check out the Planning Department’s interactive web-based tool (soon to be updated to include the amendments to the TDM Standards discussed below), or its Excel tool (already updated to include amendments)… (more)

 

SF supervisors OK first affordable building with extra height

By Emily Green : sfgate – excerpt

San Francisco supervisors unanimously approved a nine-story building to house low-income seniors in the Mission District on Tuesday, rejecting an appeal by some neighborhood residents who criticized the project as being too tall, for lacking any parking spaces, and being out of character with the neighborhood.

The project at 1296 Shotwell St. is the first to take advantage of legislation by Supervisor Katy Tang passed last year that allows 100 percent affordable housing projects in San Francisco to have three extra stories…

Despite the supervisors’ unanimous support for the project, the law that allowed it to gain three extra stories was controversial. When the bill came before the board last year, Supervisor Aaron Peskin pushed a counterproposal that would have subjected those projects to a more rigorous and time-consuming approval process.

One of the next debates before the board will center on whether to allow developments that are not 100 percent affordable, but provide a certain threshold of low-income housing, to exceed zoning limits and become taller and denser…(more)

Yesterday we heard that Kay Tang is resurrecting the Affordable Bonus Housing Plan that the residents opposed the last time they tried to sell it. Be on the lookout for major amendments coming to the General Plan. When that happens there is no more arguing over projects. They have won. The only step left is to change the people in office who are not representing us and join the other cities who are fighting this battle. A ballot initiative in LA will be decided on March 7. Details on that initiative are here: yesonsla.org