Tag: Housing

SB 902

SB 902

SB 902

05/31/20

“What would Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 902 bill accomplish?”

 

With the defeat of SB 50 in the California state senate and the advent of the COVID pandemic earlier this year, solutions to the state’s record housing crisis seem ever more out of reach. However, Senator Scott Wiener is back at it again with SB 902. In essence, SB 902 would authorize for local governments to enact “missing middle” zoning or rezoning for upwards of 10-plexes in designated neighborhoods, at a height specified by the local government in the ordinance, if the parcel is located in a transit-rich area, a jobs-rich area, or an urban infill site. Site. This bill would also provide CEQA exemption for such projects. In addition, the bill would allow for upwards of a fourplex to be approved in a low-density zone with by right ministerial approval of the city.

Why the 100% Affordable Housing Project at 480 E. 4th Avenue and 400 E. 5th Avenue in San Mateo Would Increase the City’s Climate Resilience Capacity

Why the 100% Affordable Housing Project at 480 E. 4th Avenue and 400 E. 5th Avenue in San Mateo Would Increase the City’s Climate Resilience Capacity

On April 28th, 2020, the City of San Mateo Planning Commission held an online study session looking for community feedback on a proposed project that would bring 225 affordable housing units to the downtown area. I wrote a letter explaining why the project would increase the city’s resilience capacity towards climate change.

 

To the City and Community of San Mateo, 

My name is Isaac Gendler. I am a Housing-Climate Resilience Researcher whose work is focused on the San Francisco Bay Area. It has recently come to my attention that Downtown San Mateo may soon be a host to a 100% affordable unit project at 480 E. 4th Avenue and 400 E. 5th Avenue. The geographical positioning of the venture would simultaneously make the city a more just, equitable, and climate-resilient place to live for all.

According to Zillow, the median home value in San Mateo is $1,467,184 and the median rent is $3,357. Given that the minimum wage of the city is $15.38, the cost of living is simply out of reach for many people who would be potential upstanding residents. If the proposed project is constructed according to its current specifications, it will contain 225 units of 100% affordable housing, half of which are designated as low and extremely-low income units. This will allow workers and their families of all backgrounds to enjoy the full benefits of living in the city. A city with ample greenery, clean air, and the most comfortable weather in the world.

Not only would this project provide a phenomenal quality of life and a plethora of economic opportunities for these potential residents, but also insulate them from the effects of climate change. If constructed, this project would provide dense transit-oriented housing in a location that would be safe from the ill effects of sea-level rise. In fact, even the most dire climate models predict that by the year 2100 the site will not be negatively impacted. It would also be a secure distance from the wildland-urban interface, ensuring that residents would be spared from wildfires. The units will be constructed to the most current building codes guaranteeing a safe indoor environment to counteract a hazardous outdoor environment, such as wildfire smoke or a global pandemic.  

It is understandable that some residents are concerned and hesitant about these changes. The height of the buildings is above the average San Mateo home, and the architecture may be seen as unfamiliar. However, at this moment we must consider what San Mateo could lose if this project is downsized or even terminated. The city would lose residents to other towns that will most likely not have access to the same level of provided services. They may be forced to super commute over an hour to work, leading to great financial, psychological, and physiological stress.  If San Mateo strives to be a champion of equity and environmental management, this project would be a pragmatic and forward-thinking avenue to pursue.

I endorse this project for the economic and environmental benefits it will bring to both the current and future community of San Mateo. Maps of the project’s positioning against sea-level rise and wildfires can be seen below.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

SignatureSmall

 

 

 

SeaLevelRise.JPG

200 cm sea-level rise map of San Mateo. The location of the project can be seen on the yellow pointer. Mapping courtesy of Our Coast, Our Future (link). 

Wildfire.JPG

Wildland-Urban Interface map of San Mateo. The location of the project can be seen on the black dot. Mapping courtesy of Los Padres ForestWatch (link). 

 

Header image credit https://www.cityofsanmateo.org/

Planning for Different Levels of Sea-Level Rise

Planning for Different Levels of Sea-Level Rise

Planning for Different Levels of Sea-Level Rise

04/26/20

“How can we plan for different levels of sea-level rise?”

 

Sea-level rise is going to occur because of climate change. However, the level of rise depends on how much hotter the world is over pre-industrial levels. Since there are multiple possibilities contingent upon carbon emissions rate and time passed, urban areas are going to have to plan for different levels of sea-level rise. This can be accomplished by consulting local citizens and technical experts as well as performing risk and cost-benefit analysis. This is how Planning for Different Levels of Sea-Level Rise will work.

 

Why California’s SB 902 Would Build Climate Resilience

Why California’s SB 902 Would Build Climate Resilience

Why California’s SB 902 Would Build Climate Resilience

03/30/20

“Why would California’s SB 902 by State Senator Scott Wiener build climate resilience capacity?”

 

California’s housing crisis is quickly merging with its climate crisis. To get this under control, more living spaces will need to be built in dense urban areas. California State Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco may have an answer in the form of SB 902. SB 902 is a bill that (if passed) would loosen zoning laws such that multiplexes can be developed in non-wildfire prone areas and make it easier for cities to rezone areas closer to transit to higher density. This would allow for more housing capacity near public transportation and away from the wildland-urban interface, allowing for more people to move into newer housing in less disaster-prone areas. This is Why California’s SB 902 Would Build Climate Resilience.

Why California’s AB 3173 Would Increase Housing Resilience

Why California’s AB 3173 Would Increase Housing Resilience

Why California’s AB 3173 Would Increase Housing Resilience

03/26/20

“Why would California’s AB 3173 by California Assemblymember Buffy Wicks increase housing resilience?”

 

California’s cities have a great need to densify to stave off the worst of the housing and climate crisis. California Assemblymember Buffy Wicks’ bill AB 3173 would allow for the development of microunits (studios that share kitchens) in cities with greater than 400,000 people. This would allow for more density and affordable housing, increasing the safety of populations in the wake of natural disasters. This is Why California’s AB 3173 Would Increase Housing Resilience.

How California’s AB 3107 Would Build Resilience Capacity

How California’s AB 3107 Would Build Resilience Capacity

How California’s AB 3107 Would Build Resilience Capacity

03/25/20

“How would AB 3107 from California Assemblymember Wicks build resilience capacity?”

 

As of now, California state law prohibits housing units from being developed in commercial districts. However, this could all change with one bill. AB 3107 by California Assemblymember Buffy Wicks would allow for housing development to take place in commercial districts as long as 20% of the units are relegated to be affordable housing. This would increase the number of lower-income people in housed situations near job centers, severing them from the need for private transportation and therefore increase opportunities in the case of a disaster. This is How California’s AB 3107 Would Build Resilience Capacity.

Urban Planning and Climate Resilience

Urban Planning and Climate Resilience

Urban Planning and Climate Resilience

03/24/20

“How does urban planning interact with climate resilience?”

 

Planning and designing cities are the beating heart of urban planning. And with the advent of climate change, cities will have to reinvent themselves to withstand the new conditions. This is where Urban Planning and Climate Resilience will interact and is already taking shape in cities all over the world, from sea-level rise in New York to heat islands in New Delhi.