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What SB 35 Means for the City of Brisbane

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If you’ve been following reports on the State’s housing shortage, then you’ve likely heard mention of Senate Bill 35 (SB 35).  SB 35 was approved in 2017 and establishes a streamlined development review process for new multi-family residential projects that meet the requirements established in the legislation.  The intent of SB 35 is to promote the construction of new housing in California in response to historic trends where housing production has not kept pace with population growth.  You may be wondering if or how SB 35 affects Brisbane and the Baylands in particular.  This is the City’s view.

SB 35 Generally

Developers can utilize the streamlining provisions of SB 35 in any jurisdiction in California where housing production has not met or exceeded targets set by the State through what is called the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process.  A vast majority of the 500+ cities and counties throughout the state are potentially subject to SB 35, as housing production targets have only been met in 13 jurisdictions statewide.  Regional application of SB 35 has been utilized in the Bay Area so far, with developers apparently invoking SB 35 to streamline the review process for three projects in the region to date.  These include a complex on the Vallco shopping center site in Cupertino (2,400 units, 1,200 affordable or low-income), another on 4th St. in West Berkeley (260 units, 130 affordable or low-income) and, just announced, a development on Bryant St. in San Francisco (130 units, 65 affordable or low-income).

To be subject to the SB 35 process, a residential project must qualify under a lengthy list of criteria.  Some of these include: a minimum percentage of units set aside for low income residents (up to 50% depending on the jurisdiction), adherence to construction labor standards pertaining to use of a skilled workforce and payment of prevailing wages, and compliance with all objective development standards established by the local jurisdiction.

There are also limitations on potential development sites where SB 35 can be applied.  Sites with environmental constraints such as hazardous materials contamination, flood zones, and wetlands are ineligible to utilize SB 35.  Additionally, SB 35-eligible sites must be infill (e.g., at least 75% surrounded by urban development) and zoned for residential uses.

SB 35’s Application to Brisbane and the Baylands

Recent housing production in Brisbane has not fully met state-imposed targets, so SB 35 applies to Brisbane.  However in regard to the Baylands, the Baylands is not zoned for residential uses and the site has toxic contamination which has not been remediated to allow for residential uses.  These two factors alone render the Baylands ineligible for SB 35 streamlining.  

If you’d like to sign up for email notifications about updates regarding the Baylands project, please sign up on the City’s website at: http://brisbaneca.org/baylands-email-list-sign-up-form.