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Burbank officials to send letters opposing state housing legislation

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Burbank officials are sending letters to the state Legislature to oppose several housing bills that they believe would be detrimental to the city.
(File Photo)

As California legislators work to find solutions for the state’s housing shortage, Burbank officials say some of the proposed bills could have a more negative than positive impact.

The Burbank City Council directed city staff during a meeting on Tuesday to write opposing letters to the authors of a handful of pieces of legislation in the works — Senate bills 13 and 50, as well as Assembly Bill 1763 — which they say try to address the statewide housing crisis to the detriment of cities.

Arguably the legislation considered to pose the most significant threat is SB 50. The bill, authored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), would have required cities to allow four-plexes to be built in areas zoned for single-family homes, as well as loosened requirements for housing projects built near transit hubs.

However, the proposed legislation was shelved until 2020 on Thursday while in the Senate Appropriations Committee chaired by state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), whose district includes Burbank, Glendale and La Cañada Flintridge.

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In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Portantino said he was against SB 50 because it would have stripped local control from cities and counties and created denser neighborhoods.

Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy said on Friday she appreciates Portantino’s efforts to put the brakes on Wiener’s bill but added the reprieve doesn’t mean her city or others can take a deep breath and forget about the proposed measure.

“We want to find solutions that work best for our community, not a one-size-fits-all solution,” Gabel-Luddy said.

Another bill Burbank officials are concerned about is AB 1763 by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco), which looks to expand the existing state density-bonus law by allowing an 80% density bonus for projects with 100% affordable housing.

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Additionally, if a project has 100% affordable housing and is within half a mile of a transit hub, cities or counties would have to allow for an unlimited density bonus, a 55% increase in floor-to-area ratio and up to three additional stories above the maximum levels allowed.

Council members also oppose SB 13, a bill by Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), which would require cities and counties to allow accessory-dwelling units that are at least 850 square feet and up to 1,000 square feet if it is a one-bedroom unit.

Burbank currently has an ordinance that allows for granny flats up to 500 square feet.

Burbank officials supported a couple bills, such as SB 5 from Sens. Jim Beall and Mike McGuire, which city officials considered to be a scaled-down version of redevelopment agency funding.

Council members also supported Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1 by Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, which would reduce the voter-approval threshold for bonds tied to infrastructure and affordable housing projects from two-thirds to 55% approval.

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