This article was written by Brian Hale, VP of the Ladera Heights Civic Association, and stands as our official opinion on the issue.
Well, many of you may recall our effort last year to defeat SB 50, which was sponsored by California State Senator Scott Wiener. This bill threatened to undermine California neighborhoods by changing zoning standards to create a scenario where apartment buildings could be constructed right next to single-family homes. Through the efforts of many residents and homeowners, we did successfully fight back and created enough pressure to defeat this bill. Unfortunately, Weiner and Senator Toni Atkins have united and drafted similar legislation, that will again pose a severe threat to the integrity of our community. There are currently a total of nine (9) bills that have been drafted in the Senate and Assembly, that if approved, will forever change the nature of our neighborhoods. Two of these bills represent the most immediate threat. SB 902 and SB 1120, which have already been approved by the Senate and been sent to the Assembly for action.
The authors of this package of bills claim they will help address the housing crisis and create much needed affordable housing. However, there is no language in either of these bills, that would ensure a significant percentage of the units built, will be set aside for low or moderate-income residents. These bills simply create a streamlined path for corporations and developers to purchase and build multiple homes on an existing single-family lot.
SB902 will allow developers to re-zone neighborhoods and then construct up to (10) luxury apartments or condominiums on an existing lot. Worse, this could be done without having to go through the usual environmental review. A review that would typically consider traffic, noise, or other adverse circumstances that affect the quality of life for the existing homeowners. Further, the bill also ties the hands of local governments by restricting their ability to deny or alter the project plan submitted by the developer.
SB1120 essentially eliminates the single-family lot. It permits single-family home lots to be split up, and then allow multiple market-rate homes to be built without yards or garages. The standard setback requirements (E.G.) would be removed. Also, these new units would only require one (1) on-site parking space per home, or they could be exempt entirely from providing any on-site parking.
Can you imagine the chaos and dramatic change these bills would have on the integrity, and tranquility of our community? That is why the Ladera Heights Civic Association joined with several other neighborhood groups in opposing this legislation. We have sent letters, called, and emailed members of the Assembly expressing our outrage, and encouraging them to VOTE NO on this proposed legislation.
I am pleased to say that our Assemblyperson, Sydney Kamlager, has expressed her opposition to these bills. In fact, this past weekend she participated in a Townhall discussion that was hosted by the United Homeowners’ Association. During the discussion, she provided her support and guidance in opposing this ill-conceived legislation.
So, what is the current status of these two bills?
This past Tuesday, the Assembly Appropriations Committee conducted a hearing and received an overwhelmingly negative response and comments from the public opposing these two bills. As a result, no action was taken to move these bills to the full Assembly for a vote. They were placed “On Suspense File,” which means they are placed on “hold,” but could be reactivated at any time, and then heard at a later date.
If passed, SB 902 and SB 1120, will have a profound negative impact on communities throughout the state, and provide little assurance that developers would build affordable housing. Our Association will continue to track all of these proposed bills and keep you informed. A summary of the (9) proposed Bills may be downloaded below. We will also included a link here for you to write a position letter for members of the Appropriations Committee voicing your concerns.
We are in a fight to preserve the integrity of our community. We need everyone to get involved. Call, write or email our legislators to let them know how you feel.
We will need your support to successfully defeat these Bills.