Some people have speculated that one of the reasons that Los Angeles has not been hit as hard with Covid-19 as New York City is because of the lower housing density.
State Senator Scott Weiner is trying to change that with Senate Bill 902, which would allow increased density and streamlined approvals for larger projects in single-family neighborhoods statewide, including Pacific Palisades.
The Pacific Palisades Community Council sent a June 8 letter to Anthony Portantino, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, stating: “SB 902 (Sen. Wiener’s successor bill to SB 501) originally included an unconditional exemption for Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (VHFHSZ) areas.
“To our dismay we have just learned that on May 21, Senator Wiener amended the bill to remove the VHFHSZ exemption entirely. This is inexplicable and completely unacceptable. The risk of catastrophic damage to life and property during wildfire events in VHFHSZ areas — resulting from clogged evacuation routes due to increased density under SB 902 — is clear.
“We respectfully urge you to bring this serious flaw in the bill to the attention of the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and to vote ‘No’ on SB 902 and/or to decline to move the bill forward without an amendment to add back an unconditional exemption for all parcels within VHFHSZs.”
The bill was considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 9 and will be reconsidered on June 18. At that time the Committee will decide whether to refer it to the full Senate for a floor vote.
The PPCC letter said that “State Senator Ben Allen is aware of the fire hazard and we understand is advocating for inclusion of the VHFHSZ exemption in SB 902, as is Councilmember Bonin on the City level.”
To contact State Senator Allen, visit: sd26.senate.ca.gov.