The city of Roseville is one of the state’s top producers of affordable housing for a variety of income levels. Our success is based upon transparency and strong public involvement, which has allowed us to steadily grow while reflecting community values.
Senate Bill 35, which goes before the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee on Wednesday, would completely eviscerate local control over housing, silence residents’ voices in the development process and undermine important environmental laws.
Roseville has issued between 900 and 1,000 housing permits a year and we anticipate the same level in 2018, on top of two apartment projects totaling 696 units underway. Since 1992, the city has required 10 percent of new units to be affordable housing, producing 2,867 affordable units.
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SB 35 would punish pro-housing cities. The bill would eliminate local land-use authority in cities that don’t meet unrealistic state housing quotas. In Roseville, this would equate to about 500 high-density, low-income units a year. If cities don’t comply, they would be in jeopardy of violating their general plans, which could expose all development to legal challenges. This bill mandates that cities essentially rubber-stamp apartments with no design review and no ability to require any parking if transit is within one-half mile.
SB 35 explicitly eliminates public input and a city’s authority to require reviews of apartment developments, and would also exempt these projects from the California Environmental Quality Act.
Producing housing for low-income residents requires subsidies of several hundred thousand dollars per unit. Yet the Legislature eliminated cities’ only significant source of local affordable housing funds by abolishing redevelopment agencies and federal dollars are also diminishing. SB 35 sets unattainable affordable housing goals with no resources then penalizes communities when they fall short.
In addition, SB 35 fails to recognize that housing production largely reflects market conditions. Cities do not build homes; we simply plan for and approve new housing.
SB 35 is deeply flawed and we urge the Legislature to reject it.
Susan Rohan is mayor of Roseville. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.