The State of California wants to dictate more land-use policies to Orinda and elsewhere.
Additional state mandates for Orinda (and other cities) go beyond a recent plan to require high-rise, high-density housing in transit-rich areas.
In February 2018, the Orinda City Council supported the sending of a letter by Amy Worth, a member of the Orinda City Council and the city’s current mayor, to State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco).
The letter stated that the City of Orinda opposes State Senate Bill 827 (SB 827). SB 827, which was defeated in a State Senate committee vote, would have given the State of California control over Orinda’s land one-quarter mile within a frequency-used bus stop or within one-half mile of a train station.
Senator Wiener is the sponsor of SB 827. The co-sponsor is Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley).
In February, Ms. Worth wrote: “Based on our review an understand of the proposed legislation, the impact on the City of Orinda’s land use and development standards and processes would be severe.”
SB 827 may be introduced again at a later time.
Now, there is a new threat to Orinda’s control over the city’s land. The threat comes from Senate Bill 828 (SB 828), also sponsored by Sen. Wiener.
SB 828 affects the Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA). Under RHNA, California cities must construct homes for low-income people.
SB 828, if enacted, would increase the RHNA to 125 percent of the current number.
According to the Marin Post, an online publication, “SB 828 is yet another naked attack on California’s dwindling middle class and our livable suburban communities.
The Marin Post added, ” . . . small cities simply do not have any economically viable land to designate for multifamily development . . .”
Other parts of SB 828 would allow the state to speed up the state’s demand for a local community to construct more housing, whether or nor the community had space for more housing. Also, there is no guarantee that the state would reimburse a local community for any costs associated with the building of more local residences.
At press time, there is no word on what, if anything, the Orinda City Council plans to do about SB 828.