Citizen Marin

Sustainable TamAlmonte Opposes SB 827

Sustainable TamAlmonte Opposes SB 827

If SB-827 passes, then minimum height limits of “Transit Rich” housing developments near “Major Transit Stops” and “Major Transit Corridors” could range from 45 to 85 feet depending on how close the project was to a station and whether it was located on a main road or side street.

We are writing to emphasize how detrimental the bill could be if it is signed into law. SB 827 would spare new housing developments from certain restrictions if they qualify as “transit-rich housing.” The initial version of the bill defines such housing as “parcels […] within a one-half mile radius of a major transit stop or a one-quarter mile radius of a high-quality transit corridor.'”

Here is an excerpt from an SF Curb article; California bill would mandate denser, taller housing near transit.

A new bill introduced in the California state legislature Wednesday by San Francisco Assembly member Phil Ting, San Francisco Senator Scott Wiener, and East Bay Senator Nancy Skinner would cede developers a transit-housing bonus for taller denser developments near major transit hubs.

SB 827 would spare new housing developments from certain restrictions if they qualify as “transit-rich housing.” The initial version of the bill defines such housing as “parcels […] within a one-mile radius of a major transit stop or a one-mile radius of a high-quality transit corridor.”

California Law defines a “major transit stop” as:

“A site containing an existing rail transit station, a ferry terminal served by either a bus or rail transit service, or the intersection of two or more major bus routes with a frequency of service interval of 15 minutes or less during the morning and afternoon peak commute periods.”

For new housing built near such a hub, the bill lays out a variety of potential shortcuts through the permitting process, including:

“The bill would exempt a project [from] maximum controls on residential density or floor area ratio, minimum automobile parking requirements, design standards that restrict the applicant’s ability to construct the maximum number of units consistent with any applicable building code, and maximum height limitations.”

Here’s a link to the text of SB-827:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB827

The text of the bill:

“(4) (A) If the transit-rich housing project is within either a one-quarter mile radius of a high-quality transit corridor or within one block of a major transit stop, any maximum height limitation that is less than 85 feet, except in cases where a parcel facing a street that is less than 45 feet wide from curb to curb, in which case the maximum height shall not be less than 55 feet. If the project is exempted from the local maximum height limitation, the governing height limitation for a transit-rich housing project shall be 85 feet or 55 feet, as provided in this subparagraph.

(B) If the transit-rich housing project is within one-half mile of a major transit stop, but does not meet the criteria specified in subparagraph (A), any maximum height limitation that is less than 55 feet, except in cases where a parcel facing a street that is less than 45 feet wide from curb to curb, in which case the maximum height shall not be less than 45 feet. If the project is exempted from the local maximum height limitation, the governing height limitation for a transit-rich housing project shall be 55 feet or 45 feet, as provided in this subparagraph.”

Contact your elected representatives and staff members

We have been in contact with Supervisor Sears’ office and County Director Brian Crawford, asking where SB-827 would apply in Marin if it were adopted.

Brian responded;

“Following up on your recent messages to Supervisor Sears regarding SB 827. Our staff is consulting with the local transit experts – Marin Transit Authority and Transportation Authority of Marin – regarding the applicability of Manzanita and other transit stops and corridors to SB 827. You should be hearing back from us soon.”

In the meantime, please write your representatives and urge them to oppose SB-827.

Assemblymember Marc Levine:
assemblymember.levine@assembly.ca.gov
Phone: 916.319.2010 (ask to speak to Buck who is Levine’s staffer who works on housing policy)

Senator Mike McGuire:
Phone: 916-651-4002
senator.mcguire@senate.ca.gov

Thank you in advance for taking action. Together we can make a difference!

Sharon Rushton of Sustainable TamAlmonte