new housing law may change Pacifica zoning near transit or other urban infill areas. SB 10 authorizes a local government to adopt an ordinance to zone any parcel for up to 10 residential units per parcel if the parcel is located in a transit-rich area or an urban infill site. The local ordinance would limit the height of any such buildings.

Assistant City Manager Tina Wehrmeister said it does not require building.

“SB 10 provides for a local jurisdiction to zone for higher density in certain circumstances but does not require it,” she said.

State Sen. Josh Becker, who represents the city, did not vote on the measure. Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin voted in favor. Proponents say it will provide more rental opportunities for housing.

“The housing crisis has become more acute statewide, and failure to act, on the part of the Legislature, is not an option,” Mullin said in a statement. “Consequently, many legislators introduced various bills to address various aspects of this crisis. This year I introduced AB 1029, which seeks to prioritize preservation of affordable housing units that face expiration of affordability covenants. Additionally, I introduced AB 464, signed by the governor, which allows the use of enhanced infrastructure financing districts to include funding for health, youth, homeless and social services.”

“As we searched for ways to address this critical issue, I heard back from local jurisdictions about the importance of maintaining levels of local control,” Mullin’s statement reads. “SB10 allows for local municipalities to up-zone areas close to job centers, transit and existing urbanized areas to allow up to 10 units without the need to go through the lengthy CEQA process.”

Should a city choose an area to up-zone, environmental rules will not stand in the way any longer.

Opponents say it would make it easier to construct multiunit housing and accessory dwelling units in most of Pacifica, in urban infill areas now zoned for single-family homes. Pacifica Housing 4 All opposes it because it circumvents environmental laws.

“PH4A believes that truly affordable housing and environmental protection in Pacifica are not mutually exclusive,” said Suzanne Moore in an email to the Tribune. She said it’s not clear whether recently signed legislation intended to add affordable housing will do so and allow communities to protect vital natural resources in a time of climate change and in an area noted for earthquakes and other concerns.

“Both SB9 and SB10 remove public input and CEQA environmental review and neither have provisions for affordable housing,” said Pacifican Christine Boles. “I fear that these bills will actually make all residential properties more attractive to developers, directly raising prices and further decreasing affordability for the average Pacifican.”

Jane Northrop has covered Pacifica for the Pacifica Tribune since 1996. She has won first place John Swett Awards from the California Teachers Association for her coverage of education.

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