Bullet Point Analysis — Reasons to Oppose AB 725 (Wicks/Wiener), the “Written By YIMBY” Bill

  1. AB 725 would require cities to relocate at least 25% of their future “RHNA”-required growth into fully established single-family, duplex, and small-apartment neighborhoods statewide. The upheaval will be unprecedented.
  2. AB 725 would open thriving working-class and middle-class neighborhoods to speculation and buy-outs, destroying housing to make way for up to 30 units per acre in “metro” counties, 20 units per acre in “suburban” counties, 15 units per acre in cities in rural counties, and 10 per acre in unincorporated areas.
  3. AB 725 is worse than Wiener’s SB 50 and SB 827 because while it similarly targets single-family and low-density areas for high-density, no transit service is required.
  4. AB 725 entirely ignores the need for infrastructure to accommodate density, and provides no local funding.
  5. AB 725 destabilizes homeownership, creating widespread displacement and planning chaos in cities.
  6. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the need to reject Wiener’s failing “trickle-down” housing theory and address the real crisis, the need to reward, not punish, cities to actually construct truly affordable housing. This bill requires NO affordable units. RHNA is begging for reform, and this bill is proof of it.

Note: This bill’s language was written by YIMBY California, which opposes single-family homes and yards. Today, roughly 400 cities cannot meet the impossible density and growth goals called the Regional Housing Needs Assessment or “RHNA.” RHNA was once a helpful tool for cities to plan for actual housing needs. Today, thanks to Wiener and others, RHNA is used as a weapon against cities, ordering them to achieve impossible “housing approval targets.” Please see this Embarcadero Institute study and detailed pdf spreadsheets, to understand how outlandish RHNA’s demands have become. SB 725 doubles down on RHNA’s move to control city planning.

 Bullet Point Analysis — Reasons to Oppose SB 902 (Wiener), the “I’m Worse Than SB 50” Bill

  1. This misleading bill says medium-sized cities will lose their single-family zoning to three-plexes, and  large cities will lose their single-family zoning to four-plexes. Neither is true. Medium-sized cities (10,000 to 50,000 pop.) will lose their single-family zoning to 6-unit market-rate apartments without local input or review. Large cities (50,000 and up) will lose their single-family-areas to 8-unit, market-rate projects, without local input or review.
  2. Small municipalities including unincorporated areas will lose their single-family areas to market-rate fourplexes — not duplexes as stated in this misleading bill.
  3. Why? Due to ADU law (state laws allowing granny flats), the stated upzoning in SB 902 to “duplexes,” three-plexes or “four-plexes” is false. Granny flat laws automatically double the density, allowing 8-unit apartments, NOT FOURPLEXES on almost all single family streets in cities of more than 50,000. The L.A. Times and most media missed this doubling trick and have yet to explain the radical, community-destroying nature of SB 902.
  4. This bill is also Wiener’s second try (SB 50 was his first) to overrun single-family areas with luxury 10-unit apartments. He achieves this in SB 902 by letting cities pass ordinances to rezone any parcel for a 10-unit project if that land is within a newly state-redefined, expanded “Transit-Rich” or  “Jobs-Rich” areas, or is deemed “urban infill.”
  5. If adopted by cities, these state-defined “Transit Rich” areas would apply to vast new swaths of California that Wiener dubs “high-quality bus corridors” because they have bus service every 15 minutes during rush hours. SB 902 creates new mile-wide bus “corridors” — in which all single-family zoning can be upended for 10-unit luxury apartments.
  6.  Similarly, “Jobs-Rich” areas would be radically expanded by the state, from the current definition, to include any area in which constructing a 10-unit luxury project could, theoretically, at least on paper, “enable shorter commute times.” This would entail utterly unproven and untried region-wide guesswork by the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). In other words, SB 902 is purely an experiment, like SB 50 and SB 827, with unknown and potentially huge negative outcomes.

Note: In a nod to the upheaval it will bring, SB 902 protects tenants from developer abuse under the Ellis Act, protects historic homes on the state or national register, and bans developers from using this law to build in high fire hazard zones. SB 902 claims to also prevent demolition of rental housing that has been occupied in the previous seven years — an unenforceable concept. These offerings cannot stop mass displacement and skyrocketing costs under SB 902.

Bullet Point Analysis — Reasons to Oppose AB 1279 (Bloom), the “120 Units on Your Block” Bill

  1. AB 1279 targets hundreds of cities with drastic up-zoning, in essence a punishment, if cities were unable to approve enough housing units to meet the badly-inflated targets set by the Regional Housing Needs Assessment.
  2. In hundreds of unsuspecting middle-class and working-class communities who have never heard of “RHNA,” AB 1279 would squeeze in 50-units per ¼ acre and 120 units per ½ acre.
  3. Studies verify that cities are failing to hit their arbitrary “RHNA” housing-approval targets because developers don’t bring them enough projects. Cities don’t “build” housing. Assemblymember Bloom and Scott Wiener are in denial of this fact, finding it easy to blame cities who do their best.
  4. Unsuspecting residents of working- and middle-class so-called “Opportunity Areas,” huge zones that are yet to be mapped by state officials, would see their communities bought out, demolished and paved over. Nobody, including the bill’s author, Bloom, knows which robust communities would be targeted and destroyed.
  5. Under AB 1279, developers can pay a modest “in lieu fee” to avoid offering even ONE affordable unit in any project, even while destroying existing housing.
  6. Legislators originally created RHNA to help cities determine how much housing was needed — a good idea. Now, RNHA is being badly abused by regional authorities who order cities to grow at impossible rates. RHNA is begging for reform, and this bill is proof of it.

Note: Roughly 400 cities cannot meet the impossible “growth goal” called the Regional Housing Needs Assessment or “RHNA.” RHNA was once a helpful tool for cities to plan for housing needs. Today, thanks to Wiener and others, RHNA has been corrupted into a weapon against cities, used by “regional” housing officials who create impossible housing approval targets. Please see this Embarcadero Institute study and detailed pdf spreadsheets, to understand how off-base RHNA has become. This bill doubles down on RHNA.

 Bullet Point Analysis — Reasons to Oppose AB 3173 (Bloom), the “Luxury Walk-in Closet” Bill

  1. AB 3173 forces unlimited density and height on communities to make way for exceedingly dense luxury “housing” that is clearly aimed at wealthy travelers and corporate stay-overs. No affordable units are required. This is not housing.
  2. At just 80 square-feet, AB 3173 seeks a radical miniaturization of accepted market-rate micro-unit sizes of about 350- to 400 square feet, which is generally deemed still livable.
  3. Eight major cities would be stripped of power over micro-unit zoning, parking requirements, on-site open space, environmental consideration or height: Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland, Long Beach, Fresno, San Francisco, Sacramento and San Diego.
  4. Micro-units are a bonanza for developers, pulling in nearly double the rent per square feet of an actual apartment, according to the Urban Land Institute. AB 3173 will fuel speculation, severely impacting affordable, multi-family areas.
  5. AB 3173 lets developers boost square footage 50% beyond what a city allows, upending Community Plans and General Plans. In municipalities that have a height limit, developers can add another 16 feet.