Dick Spotswood: Bill could turn bus stops into hubs for housing

If you are a developer and have property within a quarter mile of a bus stop, this is not a joke, your will have relaxed standards to build an eight story luxury apartment complex—with no need to include affordable housing units.  This is a massive effort by the Socialist/Democrat Party to promote donations from the rich and corporations to finance socialism in California, under the guise of answering the problem of the shortage of housing.  Of course, the shortage was caused by government policies—now they are going to make developers really rich.

“If the apartments are within a half-mile of the bus stop, five floors are then permitted as a matter of state law.

If SB 872 passes, Marinites who live within a quarter-mile of a Golden Gate or Marin Transit bus stop with service at least every 15 minutes during commute hours will find they ipso facto reside along a “high quality transit corridor.”

That new classification will subject them to the up-zoning mandate of SB 872.

The big-scale construction should be profitable, because SB 872 doesn’t require any of the housing it facilitates to be “affordable.”

Why not make this the policy for any property, not just those by money losing government transportation.  How about treating all people equally, instead of the winners and losers model of government?

Housing apartment

Dick Spotswood: Bill could turn bus stops into hubs for housing

Dick Spotswood, Marin Independent Journal,  1/13/18

State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is again trying to ram high-density housing down the throat of suburban California. The San Francisco Democrat has introduced SB 872, which automatically allows housing developments within a quarter-mile of most bus stops to be 85 feet tall.

That’s eight floors high.

If the apartments are within a half-mile of the bus stop, five floors are then permitted as a matter of state law.

If SB 872 passes, Marinites who live within a quarter-mile of a Golden Gate or Marin Transit bus stop with service at least every 15 minutes during commute hours will find they ipso facto reside along a “high quality transit corridor.”

That new classification will subject them to the up-zoning mandate of SB 872.

The big-scale construction should be profitable, because SB 872 doesn’t require any of the housing it facilitates to be “affordable.”

Essentially, Corte Madera’s Tam Ridge apartments on the old WinCup site will be our future.

The top-down, we-know-best state bill exempts any residential development within a quarter-mile from so-called “high quality transit corridors” from “maximum controls on residential density or floor area ratio; minimum automobile parking requirements; and any design standard that restricts the applicant’s ability to construct the maximum number of units consistent with any applicable building code.”

Under Wiener’s bill every transit stop will be a development hub.

The hypocrisy is that this up-zoning will never happen in most of San Francisco. With regional political clout, the city always manages to protect its traditional small-scale neighborhoods. Most of its new development is jammed in its southeast quadrant. I expect that won’t change with SB 872, but there will be one test to determine if I’m wrong.

For a century San Francisco’s Twin Peaks street car tunnel has linked the city’s western neighborhoods to downtown. Three light-rail lines traverse the bore with constant service interconnecting with buses at Castro and Market’s east portal, West Portal in the Sunset District and the mid-tunnel Forest Hills Muni Metro station. Unlike Larkspur’s Magnolia Avenue, with a commuter bus every 10 minutes these transit stops form a true “high quality transit corridor.”

West Portal and Forest Hills are composed mostly of single-family homes. Castro and Market involves three- to four-story apartments built in the 1920s and two-unit flats. Change these historic neighborhoods to high density and Weiner and the bill’s co-sponsor, Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, will courageously show Marin how to build dense housing.

They’ll need to persuade the city to permit and actually build eight-story apartment houses lining West Portal Avenue, the Sunset, upscale Forest Hills and low-rise Castro and Eureka Valley neighborhoods. Only then will we know they’re serious about constructing big-scale housing.

Destroying these beloved neighborhoods will also mark Wiener’s, Ting’s and other pro-housing politicians’ doom at the ballot box.

In the past decade, San Francisco’s torrid employment growth added over 200,000 high-paid tax-generating jobs without providing homes for most of the new workers. Instead, city and regional planners prefer that Marin’s communities alter their small-town character so San Francisco can reap the benefits without paying the price of demolishing their own low-scale districts in the name of “solving” the “housing crisis.”

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Every Sunday through January, I’ll suggest tasks for our elected officials to pursue to avert a Sonoma-Ventura-San Diego-type fire from destroying much of Marin.

Marin’s 11 municipalities, county government and the Marin Municipal Water District should show by their good example how to maintain land in a fire-safe condition. Do it by instituting and paying for serious tree- and brush-cutting on public lands. Historic photos demonstrate that much of our forested hillsides are overgrown. These agencies should lead the way with tree thinning before a firestorm does it for them.

 

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.