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Guest Opinion: Sacramento's war on the suburbs

Original post made on Aug 10, 2020

This year, a package of housing bills that remove local public input, override local development standards and negate environmental protections, among other harmful consequences, is rushing through Sacramento under cover of COVID-19.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 10, 2020, 4:07 PM

Comments (5)

Posted by Chad H
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2020 at 8:07 pm

Chad H is a registered user.

This boils down to the long-time saying among urban planners: "Don't buy (a house) for the view if you can't afford the view." I.E. don't blame your neighbors for changing things around you when what is really happening is that your home and yard aren't giving you all the comforts and space that you need. Need more space and less noise? Buy a farm or some acreage.

Further, there are a number of problems with the facts presented here, most notably, it is presented that a homeowner in a typical residential neighborhood could add 3 ADUs to their property. Unless the lot size in your neighborhood is approaching that of a football field, this is not going to happen.

The author suggests that giving homeowners the ability to create more equity in their home and boost their income with a small rental unit is somehow the state shifting blame to homeowners. No one is forcing anyone to build an ADU.

But the good news is that if people desire to live in big living spaces with backyards, and are fleeing dense urban areas, you won't have to worry about any extra people moving into your neighborhood and taking up that precious street parking.

Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Aug 11, 2020 at 10:52 am

C. R. Mudgeon is a registered user.

I want to thank Ms. Testa for writing the article, and for raising awareness on the spate of bills under consideration. Housing and zoning rules and regulations are best left to local bodies, at the city and county level, to have better accountability to local residents and taxpayers.

Posted by Alex Vasilenko
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Aug 12, 2020 at 8:08 am

Alex Vasilenko is a registered user.

Good. This isn’t communism where some government bureaucrat (at any level of government) is going to tell land owners what they can and cannot do with their property. If the market wants more housing people should be allowed to build more housing.

It’s the role of the state to overwrite the city when the city is limiting freedom.

Build. Build. Build. Nowhere in the constitution does it say a neighborhood must stay exactly how it was when it was built in 1930. Times change.

Posted by Parent and Voter
a resident of Danville
on Aug 12, 2020 at 8:28 am

Parent and Voter is a registered user.

It is the State that is limiting freedom when it is requiring towns and cities to follow the whims of Sacramento. They use funding to pressure these towns and cities. Higher density housing creates more traffic, more resource demands (schools, utilities, etc). Personally I like living in the suburbs rather than an urban setting.

Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Danville
on Aug 19, 2020 at 8:05 am

Neighbor is a registered user.

I suppose the author has not been on the Pleasanton City Council long enough to remember this:

"In 2006, Urban Habitat files a housing discrimination lawsuit on behalf of Sandra DeGregorio (a Latino single mother of two), in the case Urban Habitat v. City of Pleasanton for its exclusionary housing policies. In 2010, the settlement ordered the city to eliminate a cap on building new housing, pass an anti-discrimination ordinance, and rezone for affordable housing – allowing low-income communities more access to high-opportunity jobs, good schools, and two BART stations. In 2012, the settlement directly led to an approval of a major mixed-use affordable housing project. This case highlights how housing, transit, and environmental justice are inextricably linked."

The need for new affordable housing is overwhelming. This isn't communism its simply a measure intended to create housing since municipalities are woefully deficient in their legal obligation to meet State requirements for new housing. California state law recognizes that local governments play a vital role in developing affordable housing. In 1969, the state mandated that all California cities, towns and counties must plan for the housing needs of our residents—regardless of income.

This state mandate is called the Housing Element and Regional Housing Needs Allocation, or RHNA. As part of RHNA, the California Department of Housing and Community Development, or HCD, determines the total number of new homes the Bay Area needs to build—and how affordable those homes need to be—in order to meet the housing needs of people at all income levels.
The new bills are intended to do the job that local governments are failing to do. For example:

This is the July 2020 Housing Scorecard for the City on which the Author is a Councilperson:

Very Low Income % Complete 37.43%
Low Income % Complete 19.95%
Moderate Income % Complete 9.34%
Above Moderate Income % Complete 281.56%
Very Low Income ON PACE? NO
Low Income ON PACE? NO
Above Moderate Income ON PACE? YES

The data can be found at Web Link

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