Two community meetings planned on housing bill SB 50

By the Daily Post staff

The controversy over building more housing will result in two town hall-style meetings in the next few days sponsored by local groups with different perspectives.

Next Sunday (March 17), opponents of a bill in the Legislature that would reduce local control over the construction of high-density housing will hold a town meeting in Palo Alto, where experts will speak on the subject. Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, Palo Alto Neighborhoods and the Mid-Peninsula Media Center are sponsoring the meeting from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Road.

Speakers include Palo Alto Planning and Transportation Commission member Doria Summa, San Francisco Planning Commission member Dennis Richards, and Susan Kirsch, founder of Livable California, a nonprofit advocacy organization that believes in local control and governance.

They’ll talk about Senate Bill 50, which would pre-empt city zoning to allow developers to build high-density housing projects near transit or in areas with high performing school districts. They’ll also talk about the CASA Compact, a plan created by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to create a new regional government agency that could bypass local zoning rules and raise taxes by $1.5 billion a year to build housing.

On Thursday (March 14), a meeting titled “Home Sweet Casa” will take place at 6:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 1140 Cowper St., Palo Alto.

It’s sponsored by Palo Alto Forward, a political group that has called for more housing, Menlo Together, Silicon Valley At Home (SV@Home), the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County and the League of Women Voters of Palo Alto.

Michael Lane, SV@Home deputy director, will outline solutions to housing affordability.


  1. Not my problem, protect local control and defeat SB 50! We don’t need outsiders telling us how to live our lives or manage our communities.

  2. SB 50 is in a State Senate committee for hearing on Tuesday April 2. Some version of the bill will likely advance. Local government leaders need to be ready to launch a statewide REFERENDUM petition drive challenging SB 50 if it is signed into law. At the same time, cities and counties should formulate and propose by INITIATIVE petition an amendment to the California Constitution that protects SOME local land-use decision-making against State dictates. Bad things come to those who wait.

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