Stop SB 330: A Bizarre Luxury Housing Bill that, by Legislative Caveat, Kills Your Community Hearings

Senate Bill 330 by Nancy Skinner was peddled as a “streamlining” bill. Instead SB 330 will badly jam state courts with legal battles and slow housing. Even worse, SB 330 bans all but five public hearings per project, silencing vulnerable communities and California’s informed and incredibly helpful neighborhood boards. SB 330 empowers luxury developers to overrun neighborhoods. It’s a radical deregulation bill, and nothing more.

SB 330 doesn’t require developers to build ONE unit of affordable housing. Gov. Newsom, veto this terrible bill before Oct 13!

Below are 5 elements that make SB 330 fatally flawed: 

  1. SB 330 kills community input, allowing only 5 total “hearings” per project. This silences the most vulnerable residents, as cities are forced to hoard the 5 hearings for bodies such as the Planning Commission, Public Works Commission, and City Council. Local-knowledge groups such as neighborhood councils — who fight hard for, and often win, affordable units for communities — will be shut out. As Berkeley Law research found, public hearings are NOT causing 4-year to 10-year delays, a falsehood our legislators were told at Sacramento hearings last spring.
  2. SB 330 invites developers to sue if their luxury housing project is rejected by a city. It urges self-defined “future” residents to sue if a city rejects a project, opening the state courts to endless frivolous lawsuits. As think tank Embarcadero Institute warned, “Giving legal standing to parties with no established property interest (and who may have competing interests), could expose local governments to lawsuits and appeals by multiple parties, creating further delays rather than streamlining the process.”
  3. SB 330 encourages developers and frivolous lawsuit entities to sue for up to a whopping $50,000 per unit if a city denies a controversial luxury housing project that a developer insists is allowed “by right.”
  4. City-approved land-use plans taking effect after Jan. 1 of 2019 are nullified. No matter how many years of public testimony/workshops it took, city-approved plans will be retroactively invalidated, including Community Plans, sustainability plans, and broad land-use plans.
  5. Any city wanting to “down-zone” land — say, to build a promised park — would be forced into the divisive position of increasing the density of, and thus punishing, some other nearby community. The result will be far fewer new urban parks in California, impairing the fight against climate change and the heat-island effect. How foolish!

SB 330 provides zero affordable units while driving up housing prices and silencing communities. Gov. Newsom, please reject this bad and costly bill!


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