Watching Sacramento….

Several Sacramento representatives are pushing bills through the legislature at record speed in virtual anonymity during this Covid crisis — and many as we’ve been advocating against are bills targeted at the destruction of single family neighborhoods. And, lest we forget, the continual erosion of CEQA is the other favored fast-tracking legislation that is taking place….

We’re watching! Here’s what happened in the legislature on Tuesday, Aug. 11, that we are following: 

Summary  (√ – The Right Vote, X – The Wrong Vote)

Senator Henry Stern –  √ (AB 2323) 

Senator Ben Allen – X (AB 2323)

Assembly Member Richard Bloom –  (SB 1120) and X (SB 902)

X Special Mention – Mayor Eric Garcetti – Although he did not cast a vote per se of course, AB 2323’s author Laura Friedman, used his support for AB 2323 as an anchor to move her bill forward to further erode CEQA. 

SB 902 & SB 1120 were heard yesterday in the Assembly Local Government Committee: 

Assembly Member Richard Bloom sits on this Committee. He voted for SB 902 X and did not record a vote (NVR) for SB 1120 

Re-cap of SB 902 – It allows a local government to pass an ordinance to zone any parcel for up to 10 units of residential density per parcel, at a height specified by the local government in the ordinance, if the parcel is located in a transit-rich area, a jobs-rich area, or an urban infill site. SB 902 exempts historic districts (Atkins’ own)…but does not exempt Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones (VHFHSZ’s).

 Re-cap of SB 1120 – This bill promotes small-scale neighborhood residential development by streamlining the process for a homeowner to create a duplex or subdivide an existing lot in all residential areas.

AB 2323 was heard in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee yesterday:

Senator Henry Stern sits on this Committee. He did not vote to move this bill forward (NVR)  . Thank you Henry. Senator Ben Allen on the other hand is the Chair, and he voted to move this forward X.

Re-cap of AB 2323 – Expands the application of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) exemptions for housing and other specified projects by permitting community plans, as defined, to serve as the basis for exemption of residential, mixed-use and employment center projects near transit and eliminating the exclusion of sites within the boundaries of a state conservancy from existing exemptions for affordable agricultural housing, affordable urban housing, and urban infill housing.

 Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Director of Planning Policy and Development, Nick Maricich, spoke in glowing support for Garcetti of AB 2323, and was a featured speaker by the bill’s author, Laura Friedman. Joining Garcetti in support were the usual: The California Association of Realtors, the Silicon Leadership Group, The CA Building Industry Association, Bay Housing, etc.  Once again, AB 2323 seeks to erode CEQA by fast tracking/streamlining development projects under the guise of building more “needed” housing. This bill is a significant gift to developers — providing exemptions for profit development and industrial and it will lead to the expansion of CEQA amendments.