Email to City Council Opposing SB 827 and SB 828

I am writing to ask that you publicly oppose SB 827 and SB 828 and that by the end of February, the City Council pass a formal, public resolution opposing SB 827 and SB 828 and any similar attempts by the state legislature to override local control of zoning and land use or impose unreasonable unfunded housing quotas.

SB 827 is a naked power grab by Sacramento at the expense of cities. It overturns decades of city-based zoning and land-use planning and replaces it with a formula-based approach controlled by Sacramento regardless of local conditions. It would prevent our city from rationally managing its own growth, from balancing the needs for commercial and residential use, roads, and schools, and from developing high-density housing in locations that make sense according to the city plan. It would overturn the “like near like” principle of zoning and create insoluble conflicts between adjacent incompatible properties.

SB 827 would enable wealthy real estate developers to override local zoning and bulldoze their way into existing residential neighborhoods that that have been zoned for single-family detached homes for decades. Developers would erect 45-, 55- or 85-foot high-rises with no parking next to single-family homes, destroying the value of adjacent properties due to loss of privacy, shading, invasive lighting, noise, a massive influx of cars parking on the street, etc. They would then buy out the adjacent homes and repeat the process until the neighborhoods within 1/4 mile of corridors or 1/2 mile of nodes have been transformed into a block of high-density housing, likely with no parking provided. The neighborhoods outside the impacted zones would turn into overflow parking lots for these high-density units with no parking.

The bill’s elimination of local requirements for parking in high-density housing is based on a fiction that in the “impacted areas,” the availability of mass transit eliminates the need for people to own (and park) cars. This is nonsense. A road with a bus every 15 minutes at rush hour is not “transit rich,” and there is no reason to believe that people who live within a quarter mile of such a road will also have a job along that bus route or are willing to make one or more time-consuming connections to use mass transit to get to their job.

By creating massive, sudden, unplanned population growth, SB 827 would create unsolvable problems for local school districts. SB 827 provides no funding for local school districts to acquire the new land necessary for new schools, to build new school buildings and classrooms, or to pay the expenses of new teachers. Local schools might have to transform their remaining green space into portable class units to try to accommodate a sudden influx of new students.

SB 828 imposes unreasonable housing quotas on cities, making them vulnerable to penalties for missing them, while providing no funding to support housing development. It’s another unfunded mandate from Sacramento based on arbitrary formulas.

Please publicly state your opposition to SB 827 and SB 828, ask your state representative and senator to oppose these bills, and by the end of February pass a City Council resolution opposing SB 827 and SB 828. Please work with the city councils of neighboring communities to get them to do the same and to jointly oppose this ill-conceived bill and any similar legislation.

Thanks for your prompt attention to this direct attack on our city’s ability to manage its own growth.