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.