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SB 1069 Erodes Local Control and Fails to Provide True Solution to State’s Need for More Affordable Housing

Bill Returning to Senate for Concurrence and on to Governor

August 30, 2016
There is no arguing that California has a housing problem. Rent and housing costs continue to increase and California’s affordable housing stock is not sufficient to meet the needs of the state’s residents, especially in some of the most congested areas.
California needs more policies that provide affordable housing funding and unfortunately legislation that is purported to help the housing crisis, in fact would do little to alleviate the problem. The measure has one more step before being sent to Gov. Jerry Brown and cities should be ready to submit veto request letters to him.

SB 1069 (Wieckowski) seeks to further restrict local governments’ authority to impose requirement on second units (aka granny flats). The bill, which renames these accessory dwelling units (ADUs), requires that these units be approved ministerially under certain conditions.
Cities would be prohibited from imposing parking standards on units that are:
  • Located within one-half mile of public transit (which is undefined and there is no guarantee that this transit has to be frequent and reliable commuting transit);
  • Located within an architecturally and historically significant district;
  • Part of an existing primary residence;
  • When on-street parking permits are required but not offered to ADU occupant; and
  • When the ADU is within one block from a car sharing vehicle. 
In addition, the measure places confusing restrictions on water and sewer connection and capacity fees that will require re-calculation of existing fees. 
The League has long advocated for policies that truly address California’s epic affordable housing crisis. In fact, this is one of the organization’s top strategic priorities for 2016. No Place Like Home will help homeless and men, women and children at risk of homelessness get into supportive housing. This is the type of legislation that will make a difference.
SB 1069 fails to adequately address the wide variety of factors and infrastructure, including parking, utilities, neighborhood character, spillover effects on adjacent areas, etc. necessary to expand housing units in communities. Nor does it recognize the transportation and parking needs of different individuals and families. The measure just further erodes local governments’ ability to approve housing and will likely lead to more restrictive housing policies at the local level.
Next Steps
The Assembly passed SB 1069 on a 42-17 vote on Monday, Aug. 29. The bill now returns to the Senate for concurrence before reaching Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. The League will be requesting a veto. An action alert has been posted online at www.cacities.org/billsearch. Plug in AB 1069 into the search function to access the alert. The veto letters will be added when drafted.

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