AB 725 was written for Bay Area Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks by YIMBY California, a well-heeled group opposed to single-family homes and yards. AB 725 is a de facto, massive up-zoning of thousands of working-class and middle-class California streets — to destroy family homes and make way for pricey apartments. This disastrous ultra-density bill requires NO affordable housing.
We are uncomfortable with how AB 725 quietly moved through the Assembly in 2019 with no news coverage. How did the California media miss this story?
The true outcome of AB 725 was hidden in unusually convoluted language which says the bill redirects 25% of future growth into areas zoned for “2 units to 35 units per acre.”
What does that mean? It means AB 725 overruns thousands of single-family, duplex and low-density apartment neighborhoods statewide. Yet it doesn’t build a single affordable unit.
An official legislative “analysis” is equally misleading, stating that “a typical jurisdiction” will see an increase in “land zoned for multi-family” from 40% to 55%. No. About 75% of residential zoning in Los Angeles, San Jose and many cities is single-family homes — a common percentage in the U.S., whether in Chicago or Seattle. In fact, under AB 725 more than one-third of our single-family communities will be up-zoned to big apartments.
This up-zoning would be ordered by unanswerable “regional” housing officials using a tool called “Regional Housing Needs Assessment,” or RHNA. Unanswerable “regional” control is wildly inappropriate when the public trust is teetering. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that our working-class and middle-class can be destabilized. We predict vulture speculation and severe destabilizing as the recession unfolds. Let’s stop AB 725.
Livable California’s Bullet List Analysis — Why AB 725 Must Be Killed:
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 of apartment housing per acre in metro counties, 20 units per acre in suburban counties, 15 per acre in cities in rural counties, and 10 per acre in unincorporated areas. Goodbye California homeownership.
3. AB 725 is far worse than Wiener’s SB 50 and SB 827 because it openly targets single-family and low-density areas for high-density development — whether the community is served by transit or not.
4. AB 725 entirely ignores the need for infrastructure to accommodate increased density, and provides no local funding to help.
5. AB 725 would destabilize homeownership, cause widespread displacement of current residents, and create planning chaos at the municipal level.
AB 725 could be heard in the state Senate in May, this month! The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the need to shift away from the badly failing “trickle-down” housing theory and toward the real crisis, the need to actually construct truly affordable housing. Be sure to send an OPPOSE letter at the link above!