Pleasanton council to review state housing legislation, SB 50 | News | |


Pleasanton council to review state housing legislation, SB 50

Also: Updating down payment assistance program, bid preference for local contractors

The Pleasanton City Council is set to talk Tuesday about one of the most controversial housing legislation proposals under consideration this year in Sacramento, Senate Bill 50.

A bill by San Francisco Democrat Sen. Scott Wiener, SB 50 aims to spur rapid housing development by relaxing standards for some residential projects and overriding local zoning regulations near transit corridors and job hubs.

The legislation, which was reclassified as a two-year bill after its introduction in 2019, has experienced some initial amendments as it returns to the State Legislature’s agenda in 2020 -- and Pleasanton city officials expect more amendments to occur.

The City Council took a formal position to oppose the original SB50 unless amended last year, and city staff recommends a similar strategy while early and future amendments become clearer.

SB 50 has been criticized by many suburban leaders as pushing an unfair "one size fits all" approach to housing solutions. It also received opposition from some local leaders and advocates in big cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Ellen Clark, the city’s community development director, told the council in her staff report that some of the recent revisions reflect positive changes in her view, other aspects of the legislation remain potentially problematic for Pleasanton.

City administration is still concerned about SB 50 requirements’ impact on the next Housing Element update and regional housing needs allocation (RHNA) numbers for Pleasanton.

Another key concern, according to Clark, is that the bill lacks protections for historic downtowns, which poses an issue for Pleasanton since the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) train station would be considered a major transit stop and thus triggering a “transit-rich” designation for much of downtown Pleasanton.

The SB 50 discussion is expected to lead the way for the council’s regular meeting, scheduled to get underway at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at 200 Old Bernal Ave.

In other business

* The council will consider modifying the city’s down payment assistance program, including increasing the maximum loan for qualifying buyers from $20,000 to $100,000 (with up to $300,000 available in the program per year).

Other revisions include restructuring the loan terms as a deferred payment loan and adopting a shared appreciation loan policy for repayment.

* The council will weigh a new ordinance to add a local preference for Pleasanton-based businesses when tie bids are submitted, and provide a bid calculation preference of 5% (up to $5,000 per transaction) for supplies, equipment and trade services for Pleasanton contractors in certain categories of city projects.

* The agenda also features a 20-item consent calendar, a collection of items deemed routine and voted upon all at once unless pulled for separate individual consideration.

Topics on consent Tuesday include final adoption of an ordinance giving voting authority to youth members on four city commissions, confirmation of new penalties for illegal demolition of historic structures, a $466,089 contract with Lehr Auto Electric for Pleasanton police’s automated license plate reader system, a $275,149 agreement with Park Planet for playground renovations at Orloff Neighborhood Park and accepting a new public artwork for Alviso Adobe Community Park -- “Eventide,” a cold-welded steel replica of a mountain lion.

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6 people like this
Posted by It's the corporations, stupid
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jan 20, 2020 at 11:32 pm

High tech corporations want more nearby housing for their current and planned workforce. SB 50 dangles the prospect of some housing "affordable" to others but guarantees no such housing. It would extend high-density to "jobs rich" areas. That woukd be most single-family neighborhoods in the Bay Area counties abutting the Bay. Tell the giant corporations WHERE TO GO: to areas with space and a plan for adjacent housing. High tech workers could then walk to their jobs. See LIVABLE CALIFORNIA for more info. SB 50 is about to be rubber-stamped by the state senate.

1 person likes this
Posted by Christina Nystrom Mantha
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Jan 21, 2020 at 6:45 am

Do you support local businesses? Do you shop local? Do you think the City should do the same? If you do, consider attending tonight's City Council meeting.

Two years ago I approached City staff asking for a local preference policy to be adopted - whereby all things being equal, we go local for City business. This is what the Council will be discussing, and hopefully voting on, tonight. To take it a bit further, a "preference percentage" will hopefully be applied to Pleasanton-based businesses for the purpose of bid selection - meaning Pleasanton-based businesses get a slight financial advantage. This is great news! This is better than proclamations and words - this is action!

Reasons why a local preference policy makes sense for Pleasanton:

- In line with our "community of character" ethics - support your neighbors
- Keeps more sales tax dollars in Pleasanton, which provides for parks/community services, infrastructure/roads, and public safety
- Local businesses support our schools and nonprofit organizations
- Local businesses employ local workers
- Dollars spent at Pleasanton-based businesses turn over in Pleasanton - businesses use other Pleasanton businesses that employ other Pleasanton residents, and it goes on
- Set's the "tone at the top" which businesses, PUSD, and other local organizations will hopefully follow
- It is not enough to "say" we support local businesses - if we want them to stay in business we have to commit to them

The meeting is at 7pm. The agenda is linked below.

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by David
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jan 22, 2020 at 1:10 am

Tech companies want the profits without mitigating their impacts on area-wide housing supply and traffic increases. Yet government still puts all big fees on residential builders which drive up prices due to a limited supply within proximity to employment hubs. Now government wants to address the housing crisis by building really dense high-rise housing to make up for all the years NIMBYS fought every low and medium density housing projects. We need a paradigm shift of thinking.

2 people like this
Posted by John.B
a resident of Happy Valley
on Jan 28, 2020 at 8:53 am

In my view, housing was being neglected by cities around bay area for last two decades or so, and never aligned to job growth. Cities need of money gave their permission to expand companies left and right, thinking neighboring city picks up the housing tab. Problem is every city thought the same, and their cities played appeasing politics, and their hands tied off to address the issue. Housing issue spiraled up and taken over by Sacramento, in a rightful way. Either you fix it or I will fix it for you. In fact SB50 gives two years for cities to come up with the plan, which is more than adequate. I believe it's a fair game. I see happy valley and areas near by, there are lots which are very big and can easily accommodate more housing density. Cities have the option to distribute the density as they deem fit. Do we need higher density near transit or distribute in a fair way. We need to make the call...hopefully there will be more discussion.

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