Editorial - Room with a View

Room with a view: Gov. Newsom and State Legislature agree to further punish cities

Amendments to SB 120 published on Thursday, June 27, will allow the State of California to fine cities that the State feels are not building enough of the right sort of housing.

This is another example of the State of California smashing local control. You like your local building and zoning ordinances? Tough. Pay up, loser — or knuckle under.

Land development is a prickly issue. Almost no other topic is guaranteed to pack a City Council audience. “Housing element” are fighting words. Residents show up to speak angrily at the podium, only to be told that their Council representatives have no say in the matter.

Examples are provided by separate new residential developments along and near Lincoln Avenue in Cypress. Built by Bonanni Development, they exploit the housing element to increase the number of units per acre. Neighbors complain that insufficient parking is included in the plans, and mutter about guaranteed low-income units. The high-density multi-residential developments do not match the dominant single-family detached residential character of the City that residents want to preserve…

…and the State of California wants to stomp on.

The amended law allows for fines from $10,000 to $100,000 per month for any jurisdiction found to be out of compliance that continues out of compliance after twelve months.

The amended bill has been sent to the Budget Committee.

Because SB 120 is part of the budget process, once the amended version is approved by the Assembly and State Senate, then signed by Governor Newsom, it goes into effect immediately.