The Beverly Hills City Council recently passed a resolution opposing State Sen. Scott Wiener’s proposed SB 827 bill. This bill would preempt local regulations and allow unregulated construction in what is defined as “Transit Rich Areas,” with densities and heights that far exceed the City’s General Plan and building codes.
All of Beverly Hills’ major arteries and the two future Purple Line stations in Beverly Hills qualify as transit hubs; a half-mile radius around these areas encompasses most of the City’s residential housing stock. If these buildings were to be replaced, the newer buildings, like all apartments built since 1995 in California, would not be subject to rent control and would have significantly higher rents: SB-827 only requires a 10-15% affordable housing requirement. This new housing would be built without any City oversight on height or density and would directly contribute to gentrification of the City’s stable housing stock. The result would clearly be a spike in average rents in Beverly Hills and a net loss of affordable units.
“Beverly Hills is committed to providing housing for all income levels,” said Mayor Julian Gold. “Our rent stabilization ordinance and protections for tenants are among the strongest in the region. Instead of requiring a “one size fits all” approach, the state should give cities resources to deal with the affordable housing crisis that make sense for their communities.”
“Yet again, Sacramento politicians are dictating how we should live in Southern California,” said Vice Mayor John Mirisch. “This bill would destroy the City’s character, drive out longtime residents and prevent the City from controlling rent increases and protecting tenants. Each community in California has its own unique DNA and it is this diversity that makes our dynamic state special. The bill’s Soviet-style master planning is the worst possible response to a serious housing problem in California.”
The neighboring cities of Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Culver City and West Hollywood have all come out in opposition to this bill. The League of California Cities, which represents most of the cities in California, is also opposed.
Residents can voice their opinion by contacting Sen. Benjamin Allen, who represents Beverly Hills in the state senate and who sits on the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. In addition, more information will be available soon about a state constitutional amendment, currently being drafted, that would preserve local control over development and community character.
More than 60% of Beverly Hills residents are renters and, with their support, the City Council recently passed a strong rent stabilization ordinance that caps annual rent increases and imposes other protections for tenants including relocation fees in the event of no-cause evictions. The goal of the ordinance is to keep longtime and elderly residents in the City, who otherwise would have to leave Beverly Hills as rents rose with the market. Average rents are lower in the City of Beverly Hills than in nearby communities, such as Santa Monica and Culver City, in part because of a longtime, stable housing stock that could vanish if SB 827 is passed. More information can be found at www.beverlyhills.org/sb827.