We All Stopped Scott Wiener’s SB 592, a Bill to Let Developers Overrun Our Residential Streets

Just like state Sen. Wiener’s SB 827 and SB 50, his terrible SB 592 would have handed powers to luxury developers to pave over our communities with faceless luxury buildings.

But at the very last hour of voting in Sacramento, in September 2019, the Assembly Rules Committee said, “NO WAY Wiener!” 

SB 592 was a sneaky “gut-and-amend” bill. It started out as a law about barbershops, but sly Scott Wiener gutted that language and replaced it with his dream for luxury housing towers marching across California.

SB 592 was Wiener’s third BIG FAIL in his dream to pave over our state, city by city.

Wiener’s losses will continue if we push back. So please join us here at Livable California. Dozens of state senators and assembly members — possibly YOURS — voted for SB 592 before the Assembly Rules Committee put a stop to it.  It is likely, in the next legislative session, that Wiener will try another gut-and-amend bill.

Here is the devastation that Wiener’s SB 592 would have wreaked on your own community: 

  1. If your city rejected a luxury housing project as too big or too tall, developers could push it through by arguing that such rulings aren’t “economically viable” for them. The state courts would be jammed with city vs. developer lawsuits.
  2. It exported Silicon Valley problems statewide: big dormitory-style luxury mini-unit projects would be allowed in your residential areas. This is spot zoning on steroids and would open the door to broad destruction of affordable neighborhoods.
  3. The San Francisco Planning Commission revealed that under SB 592, a developer could demolish a 1,200-sq-ft home to build a 5,000 sq. ft mansion as long as it contained a 400-sq. ft. mini-unit. No affordable units are required — but mansions can grow huge in your community.
  4. Luxury developers could ignore your city’s General Plan or zoning code, if the proposed building could be squeezed onto a parcel using a “variance” to override green setbacks, open space, height limits or other good planning.
  5. Rules for architectural, design, historic or aesthetics would have been banned, including ones that protect affordable housing and room to breathe.
  6. SB 592 would have “weaponized” the Housing Accountability Act, which already lets developers sue for $10K per day if a city rejects a bad development. Not enough for Wiener! He is fighting to let builders sue your city for rejecting projects on single-family, granny flat or other low-density parcels. Our cities will drown in lawsuits, trying to stop Wiener.