Legislative News: Updates the SB-58 (the “4 AM Bar Bill”), SB-330, AB-1279 and SB-592

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Update from CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz’s office—to subscribe to Council District 5 newsletters, click here.

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The "4 a.m. Bar Bill" (SB-58) is Closed For Business, For Now.

On September 14th the California State Assembly voted to put a stop on SB 58 (35 members voted NO, and 29 voted YES, and 15 members did not vote) another way of making sure the bill's author would be handed his third failure in three years of attempting to establish a so-called "pilot project" to give some California cities the ability to extend last call at bars, restaurants, and clubs.  Councilmember Koretz stated, "This is a huge victory.  The California Assembly chose the safety of its residents over profits for alcohol-related businesses. I am proud of their actions and of the coalition that fought to oppose this dangerous bill."

Councilmember Koretz has been the primary elected official leading the way to defeat this dangerous piece of legislation that would allow local jurisdictions to extend drinking hours from 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.

Councilmember Koretz has repeatedly said, "No good can come from serving alcohol until 4 a.m."  This bill would have caused more DUIs, more drunk driving injuries and more alcohol related deaths. Moreover, he has explained that “no district is an island" because while the author has campaigned that this is a bill that leaves final authority up to local discretion, its impacts would spill over into adjacent jurisdictions that would end up with the very expensive public safety bill - the cost of life and death.

We must all remain vigilant as we can expect this "zombie bill" to be resurrected again soon. 

SB-330, AB-1279 and SB-592

Below is a reprint from Homeowners of Encino:

THREE BAD BILLS

By Gerald A. Silver

Three bad housing bills, SB-330, AB-1279 and SB-592 are back before the California legislature. These ill conceived bills are warmed over versions of the defeated SB-50 with different sponsors and different bill numbers in the hope of sneaking by public scrutiny. By including a few affordable units, a developer will be allowed to upsize a building’s footprint and build more market-rate apartments than would usually be zoned for. SB-330, AB-1279 and SB-592 will only add density will not make housing more affordable. As density goes up the value of the land that supports that density goes up. If building more apartments made renting more affordable, Los Angeles would have seen rental prices start to moderate, but they have not. As of September 2018, the Los Angeles Dept of Planning announced the approval of 106,000 new apartments -- exceeding Mayor Garcetti's goal of 100,000 new units by 2021. Most of these will be new luxury apartments built on what was once a smaller building with affordable units. Result – more high-priced, unaffordable units.

The reality is developers want to maximize their profits and that is inconsistent with building affordable housing. Complex environmental requirements, high labor costs, raw materials, insurance, construction loans, and forced below market leases encourage massive buildings over less dense structures. In this market, developers will use every legal tool to upsize the building and place profit ahead of housing needs.

Collectively SB-330, AB-1279 and SB-592 will retroactively void restrictions on density, land use, zoning and design standards implemented since January 1, 2018, and create a zoning free-for-all.
They would negate SB-35 which requires real estate projects granted density bonuses to include public benefits, like affordable housing and the mitigation of impacts from the increased density on public safety, habitat, conservation, tenants' rights, and labor. Senate Bill 330 and its sister bills would create parcel-by-parcel spot-zoning and up-zoning for the benefit of developers. This provision negates a city’s power to adopt a carefully prepared General Plan that lowers density in specific areas, even if it increases overall planned population and housing density.

Senate Bill 330 imposes undemocratic state controls that interfere with a city's official responsibility to manage its own affairs. It negates the Charter City Status of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and about 75 other cities. SB 330 removes parcel-level zoning restrictions to permit nonresidential uses in residential areas for up to one-third of a mixed-use "housing development project." and eliminates all use regulations in residential neighborhoods, at least until 2025. Senate Bill 330 shields slumlords and absentee owners from enforcement actions for code violations and nuisance abatement laws for seven years, even for fire, sanitation, and seismic safety laws. Senate Bill 330 reduces the amounts of new affordable housing by giving developers inclusionary housing credits for any relocation fees and the rights of existing tenants to refuse resettlement or reentry into a remodeled building.

If SB-330, AB-1279 and SB-592 are implemented and sound local zoning laws developed over decades are tossed out the window, they will generate more traffic, not enough local shops, DMV offices, postal services, etc. Poorly planned housing invites more people and increased demand for water, solid waste disposal, roadways, etc. Everyone is affected by the degraded infrastructure with higher utility bills. In summary look for more traffic on Ventura Blvd., less local land use control while the California legislature punches three more holes the American dream of home ownership.

Readers may comment and track SB-330, AB-1279 and SB-592, and other bills at: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/.

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Gerald A. Silver is Vice-President of Homeowners of Encino. He served on the Citizens Advisory Committee that helped craft the Ventura Blvd. Specific Plan. He can be reached at gsilver4@earthlink.net.