State Senate Bill Would Impose Growth on Cities

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At Tuesday’s Davis City Council Meeting, Councilmember Don Saylor reported on SB 303, a bill in California’s State Senate, that has significant land use implications for a number of cities. Councilmember Saylor learned about this bill from the League of California Cities.

This bill, authored by State Senator Denise Ducheny, has already passed the Senate committee in March. It figures to have much stronger opposition in the Assembly. It may be heard as early as July 3 in the Assembly Committee on Local Government. It has also been referred to the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development.

Senator Ducheny, a Democrat, has entitled the bill “The Housing Affordability Act.”

According to her release:

“The new legislation is designed to ensure responsible planning, require full compliance with environmental laws and boost affordable housing for all income levels. Local and regional governments will maintain control of the current process for determining how much housing is needed (Regional Housing Needs Assessment, RHNA) and where it will go. Now, however, the land will be zoned when the site for housing is chosen by the local community.”

However, the League of California Cities among hundreds of individual cities, environmental groups, have come out in very strong opposition to this legislation precisely because they fear it will take away local and regional government control over assessing housing needs. Specifically they are concerned about some of the provisions that will require the housing element to cover a 10 year rather than a five year period.

In essence, it requires the worst of all worlds. The housing element will continue to be updated every five years. However, the period that the “regional housing needs assessment” will cover is a 10-year period, meaning that the housing element will not be required to accommodate 10 year housing needs rather than five. The fear is that these projects will become front-loaded in the planning stage, and the rate of growth will increase dramatically as a result.

Moreover, they will now require the zoning for the housing element update to done concurrent with the housing element update. In other words, the projects will be essentially zoned and ready to go at the beginning of the five year period, further adding to the effect of front loading the housing at the beginning of the ten year period, in effect increasing the growth of most locales.

According to the League of California cities:

“The combination of extending the RHNA to ten years and requiring upfront zoning will trigger significant sprawl because no time is provided to phase in the availability of housing sites.”

This legislation appears to be the counterpart of the concern about the county’s general plan update designating various joint-study areas that would eventually look at changing zoning by the county on key properties on Davis’ periphery. It would be tantamount to state mandated growth.

With the strong and growing opposition by the League of California Cities and the apparent stronger opposition in the State Assembly, the prospects of this legislation fortunately appear to be diminishing.

However, at this point there appears to be some concern as to who the sponsor of this legislation is, or more importantly, who works for State Senator Denise Ducheny as her chief of staff. That would be John Ferrera, a Davis resident, who is a candidate for the 4th District Yolo County Supervisor Seat.

There are a number of tough questions that need to be addressed regarding this legislation, but also the philosophy behind it.

The County and City have been at odds during their general plan update precisely over the principle as to who should determine growth on the periphery of cities. Now we have the state sticking their nose into local land use decisions as well. That’s not to suggest that there are not good intentions behind designing a bill that would improve the housing supply and increase the amount of affordable housing. However, such legislation has a very different impact on smaller cities than it does on large cities.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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52 thoughts on “State Senate Bill Would Impose Growth on Cities”

  1. Anonymous

    While I personally would like to see more housing that is affordable this sort of state government intervention into local politics seems a rather ham handed approach. That someone who works for the author is running for Supervisor in Yolo County is troubling.With two conservatives already on the Board of Supervisors this race could seriously change the balance on the board and the dynamics of county politics.

    Jim Provenza, who is also running for the 4th district seat is a credible candidate who will make a positive contribution to county politics as he has as a Trustee of the Davis Unified School District. I would urge anyone who is disturbed by this legislation to support Jim Provenza for Supervisor.

    Ron Glick

  2. Anonymous

    While I personally would like to see more housing that is affordable this sort of state government intervention into local politics seems a rather ham handed approach. That someone who works for the author is running for Supervisor in Yolo County is troubling.With two conservatives already on the Board of Supervisors this race could seriously change the balance on the board and the dynamics of county politics.

    Jim Provenza, who is also running for the 4th district seat is a credible candidate who will make a positive contribution to county politics as he has as a Trustee of the Davis Unified School District. I would urge anyone who is disturbed by this legislation to support Jim Provenza for Supervisor.

    Ron Glick

  3. Anonymous

    While I personally would like to see more housing that is affordable this sort of state government intervention into local politics seems a rather ham handed approach. That someone who works for the author is running for Supervisor in Yolo County is troubling.With two conservatives already on the Board of Supervisors this race could seriously change the balance on the board and the dynamics of county politics.

    Jim Provenza, who is also running for the 4th district seat is a credible candidate who will make a positive contribution to county politics as he has as a Trustee of the Davis Unified School District. I would urge anyone who is disturbed by this legislation to support Jim Provenza for Supervisor.

    Ron Glick

  4. Anonymous

    While I personally would like to see more housing that is affordable this sort of state government intervention into local politics seems a rather ham handed approach. That someone who works for the author is running for Supervisor in Yolo County is troubling.With two conservatives already on the Board of Supervisors this race could seriously change the balance on the board and the dynamics of county politics.

    Jim Provenza, who is also running for the 4th district seat is a credible candidate who will make a positive contribution to county politics as he has as a Trustee of the Davis Unified School District. I would urge anyone who is disturbed by this legislation to support Jim Provenza for Supervisor.

    Ron Glick

  5. No on Xer

    More Saylor scare tactics trying to get us to accept the peripheral development schemes of our benevolent local developers rather than being at the mercy of mysterious outside State interests. Same-o, Same-o

  6. No on Xer

    More Saylor scare tactics trying to get us to accept the peripheral development schemes of our benevolent local developers rather than being at the mercy of mysterious outside State interests. Same-o, Same-o

  7. No on Xer

    More Saylor scare tactics trying to get us to accept the peripheral development schemes of our benevolent local developers rather than being at the mercy of mysterious outside State interests. Same-o, Same-o

  8. No on Xer

    More Saylor scare tactics trying to get us to accept the peripheral development schemes of our benevolent local developers rather than being at the mercy of mysterious outside State interests. Same-o, Same-o

  9. Anonymous

    This is nothing. Check out the Sacbee article today where good old Tsokopolous is trying to get land developed next to I-80, east of town.

  10. Anonymous

    This is nothing. Check out the Sacbee article today where good old Tsokopolous is trying to get land developed next to I-80, east of town.

  11. Anonymous

    This is nothing. Check out the Sacbee article today where good old Tsokopolous is trying to get land developed next to I-80, east of town.

  12. Anonymous

    This is nothing. Check out the Sacbee article today where good old Tsokopolous is trying to get land developed next to I-80, east of town.

  13. Richard

    and, there is no way to amend the bill to address the concerns of local government and facilitate the construction of affordable housing?

    after all, that’s what happens in the legislature all the time, bills get introduced, and, as it works it way through, members comment and seek changes as required

    so, isn’t it a false opposition to say that the bill must either be passed in its current form (with its alleged flaws) or killed?

    but, then, maybe, it is more important to use the situation as campaign fodder against John Ferrera

    also worth noting that many of the cities within the League are notorious for their opposition to affordable housing and any statewide measures compelling them to build it, and, in this, they stand side by side with developers, as both want to primarily construct costly homes for upper middle income

    and, that’s why Saylor was probably alarmed, as he sees the world very similarly

    off topic: check out the Local News section of the Bee today, a proposed deal for a stem cell research center in return for the development of land between Davis and the causeway, and, amazingly, Rexroad comes across as the good guy, Yamada and McGowan, well, not so good

    someone should really tell Mariko that she doesn’t have to take every call from the press and answer every question, something Helen Thomson apparently understands, because she is, quite shrewdly, completely absent from the article

    –Richard Estes

  14. Richard

    and, there is no way to amend the bill to address the concerns of local government and facilitate the construction of affordable housing?

    after all, that’s what happens in the legislature all the time, bills get introduced, and, as it works it way through, members comment and seek changes as required

    so, isn’t it a false opposition to say that the bill must either be passed in its current form (with its alleged flaws) or killed?

    but, then, maybe, it is more important to use the situation as campaign fodder against John Ferrera

    also worth noting that many of the cities within the League are notorious for their opposition to affordable housing and any statewide measures compelling them to build it, and, in this, they stand side by side with developers, as both want to primarily construct costly homes for upper middle income

    and, that’s why Saylor was probably alarmed, as he sees the world very similarly

    off topic: check out the Local News section of the Bee today, a proposed deal for a stem cell research center in return for the development of land between Davis and the causeway, and, amazingly, Rexroad comes across as the good guy, Yamada and McGowan, well, not so good

    someone should really tell Mariko that she doesn’t have to take every call from the press and answer every question, something Helen Thomson apparently understands, because she is, quite shrewdly, completely absent from the article

    –Richard Estes

  15. Richard

    and, there is no way to amend the bill to address the concerns of local government and facilitate the construction of affordable housing?

    after all, that’s what happens in the legislature all the time, bills get introduced, and, as it works it way through, members comment and seek changes as required

    so, isn’t it a false opposition to say that the bill must either be passed in its current form (with its alleged flaws) or killed?

    but, then, maybe, it is more important to use the situation as campaign fodder against John Ferrera

    also worth noting that many of the cities within the League are notorious for their opposition to affordable housing and any statewide measures compelling them to build it, and, in this, they stand side by side with developers, as both want to primarily construct costly homes for upper middle income

    and, that’s why Saylor was probably alarmed, as he sees the world very similarly

    off topic: check out the Local News section of the Bee today, a proposed deal for a stem cell research center in return for the development of land between Davis and the causeway, and, amazingly, Rexroad comes across as the good guy, Yamada and McGowan, well, not so good

    someone should really tell Mariko that she doesn’t have to take every call from the press and answer every question, something Helen Thomson apparently understands, because she is, quite shrewdly, completely absent from the article

    –Richard Estes

  16. Richard

    and, there is no way to amend the bill to address the concerns of local government and facilitate the construction of affordable housing?

    after all, that’s what happens in the legislature all the time, bills get introduced, and, as it works it way through, members comment and seek changes as required

    so, isn’t it a false opposition to say that the bill must either be passed in its current form (with its alleged flaws) or killed?

    but, then, maybe, it is more important to use the situation as campaign fodder against John Ferrera

    also worth noting that many of the cities within the League are notorious for their opposition to affordable housing and any statewide measures compelling them to build it, and, in this, they stand side by side with developers, as both want to primarily construct costly homes for upper middle income

    and, that’s why Saylor was probably alarmed, as he sees the world very similarly

    off topic: check out the Local News section of the Bee today, a proposed deal for a stem cell research center in return for the development of land between Davis and the causeway, and, amazingly, Rexroad comes across as the good guy, Yamada and McGowan, well, not so good

    someone should really tell Mariko that she doesn’t have to take every call from the press and answer every question, something Helen Thomson apparently understands, because she is, quite shrewdly, completely absent from the article

    –Richard Estes

  17. davisite

    This bill moves the ball significantly down the field in the State’s attempt to dictate to CA cities how they will grow. It has been and continues to be a political “third rail” and is going nowhere. It IS very interesting that Ferrara is attempting to sit on our Board of Supervisors where the struggle between Davis and the County over the possible erosion of our power to control our own growth is currently in play.

  18. davisite

    This bill moves the ball significantly down the field in the State’s attempt to dictate to CA cities how they will grow. It has been and continues to be a political “third rail” and is going nowhere. It IS very interesting that Ferrara is attempting to sit on our Board of Supervisors where the struggle between Davis and the County over the possible erosion of our power to control our own growth is currently in play.

  19. davisite

    This bill moves the ball significantly down the field in the State’s attempt to dictate to CA cities how they will grow. It has been and continues to be a political “third rail” and is going nowhere. It IS very interesting that Ferrara is attempting to sit on our Board of Supervisors where the struggle between Davis and the County over the possible erosion of our power to control our own growth is currently in play.

  20. davisite

    This bill moves the ball significantly down the field in the State’s attempt to dictate to CA cities how they will grow. It has been and continues to be a political “third rail” and is going nowhere. It IS very interesting that Ferrara is attempting to sit on our Board of Supervisors where the struggle between Davis and the County over the possible erosion of our power to control our own growth is currently in play.

  21. Anonymous

    the greek is has a net worth close to a billion dollars. he has created, elk grove, natomos and folsom. Now he has turned himself onto Davis.

  22. Anonymous

    the greek is has a net worth close to a billion dollars. he has created, elk grove, natomos and folsom. Now he has turned himself onto Davis.

  23. Anonymous

    the greek is has a net worth close to a billion dollars. he has created, elk grove, natomos and folsom. Now he has turned himself onto Davis.

  24. Anonymous

    the greek is has a net worth close to a billion dollars. he has created, elk grove, natomos and folsom. Now he has turned himself onto Davis.

  25. Anonymous

    Isn’t the area prone to flooding? What a disaster it would be if it were to have all of these homes built on it?

    Also, look what’s happened to Natomas! It doesn’t matter what land use experts say they just keep building and building. It is a traffic nightmare to drive into Natomas.

    No thank you! Keep your development on the other side of the cause way.

  26. Anonymous

    Isn’t the area prone to flooding? What a disaster it would be if it were to have all of these homes built on it?

    Also, look what’s happened to Natomas! It doesn’t matter what land use experts say they just keep building and building. It is a traffic nightmare to drive into Natomas.

    No thank you! Keep your development on the other side of the cause way.

  27. Anonymous

    Isn’t the area prone to flooding? What a disaster it would be if it were to have all of these homes built on it?

    Also, look what’s happened to Natomas! It doesn’t matter what land use experts say they just keep building and building. It is a traffic nightmare to drive into Natomas.

    No thank you! Keep your development on the other side of the cause way.

  28. Anonymous

    Isn’t the area prone to flooding? What a disaster it would be if it were to have all of these homes built on it?

    Also, look what’s happened to Natomas! It doesn’t matter what land use experts say they just keep building and building. It is a traffic nightmare to drive into Natomas.

    No thank you! Keep your development on the other side of the cause way.

  29. Anonymous

    The Flood of ’97. Streets in Davis here and there under six feet of water. The intersection of J Street and Drexel just down the block from my duplex at the time had five or six cars stuck in the middle of it. Stalled. The drivers must have felt invincible, till they got to sit on their car roofs and wait in the rain for overworked Johnny’s wreckers to pull their cars out. Haven’t had such a flood since. But time will tell, in Natomas or Davis. If the weir above West Sacramento gave way, then New Orleans post-Katrina would look by comparison like a wading pool in a suburban backyard…

  30. Anonymous

    The Flood of ’97. Streets in Davis here and there under six feet of water. The intersection of J Street and Drexel just down the block from my duplex at the time had five or six cars stuck in the middle of it. Stalled. The drivers must have felt invincible, till they got to sit on their car roofs and wait in the rain for overworked Johnny’s wreckers to pull their cars out. Haven’t had such a flood since. But time will tell, in Natomas or Davis. If the weir above West Sacramento gave way, then New Orleans post-Katrina would look by comparison like a wading pool in a suburban backyard…

  31. Anonymous

    The Flood of ’97. Streets in Davis here and there under six feet of water. The intersection of J Street and Drexel just down the block from my duplex at the time had five or six cars stuck in the middle of it. Stalled. The drivers must have felt invincible, till they got to sit on their car roofs and wait in the rain for overworked Johnny’s wreckers to pull their cars out. Haven’t had such a flood since. But time will tell, in Natomas or Davis. If the weir above West Sacramento gave way, then New Orleans post-Katrina would look by comparison like a wading pool in a suburban backyard…

  32. Anonymous

    The Flood of ’97. Streets in Davis here and there under six feet of water. The intersection of J Street and Drexel just down the block from my duplex at the time had five or six cars stuck in the middle of it. Stalled. The drivers must have felt invincible, till they got to sit on their car roofs and wait in the rain for overworked Johnny’s wreckers to pull their cars out. Haven’t had such a flood since. But time will tell, in Natomas or Davis. If the weir above West Sacramento gave way, then New Orleans post-Katrina would look by comparison like a wading pool in a suburban backyard…

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