PPDC opposes three housing bills

PPDC's board votes to oppose the following three housing bills under consideration in the CA State Senate:

SB 1085
Density Bonus Law: qualifications for incentives or concessions: student housing for lower income students: moderate-income persons and families: local government constraints

1) This bill would require a city or county to grant a density bonus and certain incentives/concessions if the developers includes a specified percentage of units for low/moderate income (30% below market rate). Increases density bonus to 40% for 11% very low income.

2) Requires reporting for low-income student units included in any density bonus

3) This bill would remove the specified adverse impact on the physical environment from the list of reasons for which a city or county is authorized to refuse a concession or incentive. Prohibits affordable housing impact fees.

4) No reimbursement is required by the state to cities or counties for costs mandated

There is no specific provision for High Risk Fire Areas and it is unclear whether exceptions could be made for those areas.


SB 1120
Subdivisions: tentative maps

This bill would ministerially consider proposed housing developments, without discretionary review or hearing, in single-family zones, provided that the development would not require demolition or alterations requiring evictions of current tenants of a unit that is subject to a recorded covenant, ordinance, or law that restricts rent levels to affordable (moderate, low, or very low income). This would include splitting a residential lot into two separate lots provided that both lots are not smaller than 1,200 sq.ft.

Local agencies may impose objective zoning and objective design standards applicable to a parcel, so long as it does not conflict with the other provision within this bill. A local agency may not impose standards that reduce the buildable area on newly established parcels.

There are several conditions that do limit the flexibility of developers but are mostly aimed at protecting tenants. There are exceptions for historical districts or landmarks. Parking is also not required for units within a zone similar to those provided in last year's SB50 transit-oriented occupancy bill.

This bill would also exempt these projects from CEQA challenges. Again the language of this bill makes it unclear how much flexibility local agencies with areas of high risk fire zones would have in increasing density in those areas. The stipulation that local agencies may impose objective zoning standards seems to imply that limiting density in these areas would be allowed under the law, but challenges would surely surface.


SB 902
Planning and zoning: housing development: density

If this bill is passed, a local government could pass an ordinance to zone any parcel for up to 10 units of
residential density per parcel if the parcel is located in ONE of the following:

(A) A transit-rich area.
(B) A jobs-rich area.
(C) An urban infill site.

The lack of a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone exemption could lead to greater
housing density in fire-prone areas, which might create additional risks and additional
burdens on fire-fighting resources.

Note: The lack of a VHFHSZ exemption is the reason why the Pacific Palisades Community Council says it currently opposes SB 902.

• Some parts of California have water shortages, but SB 902 doesn’t account for this problem. Development could be permitted in places without the water supply to handle a large population increase.

• Some people are complaining that the bill does not require this new housing to be affordable.

• Increasing density might change the character of neighborhoods. (This change might matter to some people, but not to others.)

• Solving the housing shortage problem might diminish property values for those who own property.

Increasing density seems necessary, but concerns about fire safety and issues regarding water supply are not addressed.