Keep up with essential planning news and commentary, delivered to your inbox every Monday and Thursday.
A Proposed Legislative Solution to California's Out-Migration Epidemic
"As The Sacramento Bee’s Phillip Reese reported on Sunday, lower-income people, many of them starting out, must leave for lower-cost states such as Texas," writes the editorial board. "The exorbitant cost of housing is driving many of them away."
Sen. Scott Wiener, a freshman Democrat from San Francisco, is taking up the worthy cause of helping to bring more affordable housing to California’s urban areas, including his own.
His Senate Bill 35, which faces its first hearing Tuesday [March 7] in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, would streamline the permitting process in cities that have failed to provide sufficient affordable housing. We hope the committee approves it, understanding that it will be refined as it moves through the legislative process.
They did, with 7 ayes, 3 noes, and 3 senators not voting.
"Today’s vote was a critical first step towards addressing our need for more housing in California, particularly for the lower income workers who are finding it increasingly hard to find places to live," said Senator Wiener in a press release.
"Each city has the power to contribute to building the housing our residents need, and SB 35 will ensure that cities are taking this responsibility seriously," adds Wiener.
That's the controversial part of the bill, the streamlining that the editorial board mentioned above, and perhaps the reason why two of Wiener's Democratic colleagues chose not to vote.
“Streamlining” in the context of SB 35 appears to mean a shortcut around public input. While it may be frustrating for some developers to address neighborhood concerns about traffic, parking and other development impacts, those directly affected by such projects have a right to be heard. Public engagement also often leads to better projects. Not having such outlets will increase public distrust in government and additional ballot measures dealing with growth management.
However, the league doesn't indicate that the "streamlined, ministerial approval process for infill developments" applies only to "localities that have failed to meet their regional housing needs assessment numbers," according to the bill's digest prepared for the hearing.
- Government / Politics
- Social / Demographics
- Urban Development
- Affordable Housing
- Approval Process
- California Legislation
- California Senate Transportation and Housing Committee
- Housing Legislation
- Infill Development
- Ministerial Approval
- Permitting Process
- Regional Housing Need Allocation
- SB 35 - Wiener
- Streamlined Processing
- League of California Cities
- Sen. Scott Wiener