State housing laws supersede city zoning
Los Altans are dismayed by the decision that Senate Bill 35 supersedes local zoning. SB 35 is one of many bills taking zoning decisions away from towns/cities and greatly increasing population density.
Main Street was not zoned residential. State Sen. Scott Wiener’s SB 35 required that building be in residential areas, so the zoning was converted. SB 1120, another density bill, lost but can reappear in December. Why? A greatly disputed study posited California needs 3.5 million new housing units, a flawed number using New York as a model.
The nonpartisan Embarcadero Institute in Palo Alto finds 1.1 million to 1.3 million housing units are needed. The larger number disregarded: San Francisco and Los Angeles are not growing; in a pandemic mentality, crowded living spaces are not wanted; tech workers express their desires to leave the Bay Area if distance working continues.
Proponents of the bills claim affordable housing as their rationale, but the developments are market rate, often with few “affordable” units. Parking is not required. Yards are eliminated.
Described as adding duplexes, SB 35’s “affordable housing” allows 40 Main St. with two “affordable” units? SB 1120 allows eight units to replace one house: four market-rate houses, four accessory dwelling units.
How did your representatives vote on SB 35 and SB 1120? Let them know what you think.
After arson, church opens doors to voters
We would like to thank the local Antiochian Orthodox Church of the Redeemer on Magdalena Avenue in Los Altos Hills for opening its doors to the public to host a vote center for the general election.
As neighbors, we were both struck, as we pass the church daily, by the irony that a church destroyed by hateful arson and rebuilt years later, the one church in town which would have every understandable reason to keep the public out, chose instead to open its doors to the public for voting.
It was quite moving to observe this public service in support of inclusion and democracy.
Thank you to everyone who worked the polls and especially to the Antiochian Orthodox Church, for making public voting in person possible.
Katie Matice and Cathy Humphers Smith