October 22, 2019

sb330 Now the Law!

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Sb330 was signed by Governor Newsom on October 9, 2019.  Fortunately, our La Jolla Response Group was able to secure an amemendment on May 7th to protect the 30 ft Coastal Overlay Height Limit, an original target of the bill.

The new bill is a developer give-away with the new provisions that will reduce public review of projects and prevents existing density limits from being reduced.

Senator Nancy Skinner's Website describes the bill from her perspective:

"Until 2025, the new law requires cities and counties to slash the time it takes to process permits for housing that meets the local government’s existing rules, and it caps the number of public hearings on a housing project proposal at five. Cities and counties are also prohibited from hiking fees or changing permit requirements once the project applicant has submitted all the preliminary required information. Additionally, urban areas are barred from changing building design standards, reducing the number of housing units allowed (downzoning), establishing a population cap, or enacting moratoriums on new housing construction."

Livable California, a group of activists that I communicate with and cooridinate statewide efforts describes the bill below:

Senate Bill 330 — Approved and Signed by Gov. Newsom

State Sen. Nancy Skinner’s highly contested SB 330 became law despite our strong opposition, and was signed by Gov. Newsom in October. This was a terrible loss, made worse by the near-silence of California’s badly decimated news media regarding the intense battle that unfolded against Skinner, one of the Wiener’s most loyal followers. 

SB 330 kills public hearings on controversial developments at the most local community level, muzzling hundreds of vulnerable and sensitive communities. It empowers luxury housing developers to force cities to approve unaffordable, oversized luxury apartments — and if a city rejects such a project, the developer can sue taxpayers for $50,000 per each housing unit “denied” by a city.

Incredibly, SB 330 does not require even a single unit of affordable housing. Yet when we lobbied against SB 330, we met directly with powerful chairs of Sacramento committees who were uninformed, telling us that SB 330 “created affordable housing.” Lack of awareness is not uncommon among powerful California legislators. They have far too many bills to read, and they vote “Yes” in the dark. 

This unawareness is a key reason that SB 330 is now law, giving developers a cudgel with which they can destroy urban open spaces, existing affordable housing and in some cases entire communities.