Members, Board of the Venice Neighborhood Council,
I am writing to ask you to adopt the WRAC motion opposing SB 50.
If passed, SB 50 would take power away from local government (and the Venice community) and allow the State Legislature to frame planning and development decisions from Sacramento.
Under SB 50, towns would be required to allow apartment buildings in any place that is either:
- within a half-mile of a rail transit station;
- within a quarter-mile of a high-frequency bus stop; or
- within a “job-rich” neighborhood.
In the new special zones, regulatory parking minimums would be sharply reduced and zoning codes would have to allow buildings to be either 45 or 55 feet tall depending on local factors.
The biggest short-term impact of these zoning changes would probably be felt in neighborhoods that are already gentrifying and have a significant amount of housing turnover. Single-family homes that today are sold to flippers or to yuppies looking to undertake a renovation project or new construction would instead tend to get sold to small-scale apartment developers who would refashion them as denser and much higher structures.
The demand for density, however, is highest in rich neighborhoods where the price of land is highest. Units in these neighborhoods turn over more slowly, but the market demand for more housing is essentially infinite so over time it’s easy to imagine whole swathes of single-family dwellings in Silicon Valley, Westside Los Angeles (including Venice), Western San Francisco, etc. being converted to apartments.
With many high frequency bus stops in Venice it is not a stretch to imagine four and five story buildings all along Main Street, for example.
If the Venice community wishes to increase density, for example, along broad corridors such as Venice and Washington Boulevard, then the current Local Coastal Plan and community plan processes are the appropriate means for its expression, not the sledge hammer approach of SB 50.
As former County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky explained last year in opposing SB 50's look-alike predecessor SB 827, this legislation is neither NIMBY or Yimby; it's WIMBY - Wall Street in My Backyard. SB 50 simply allows developers to finally be able to over-develop our low rise, livable community without the careful consideration and mitigation that would come within the community plan process.
Thank you for your consideration.