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Marin Adopts State Housing Statutes

Over the course of the next several months, the County is preparing changes in housing policies and regulations that will incorporate the state laws. Meanwhile, the laws are in effect and the County must implement them accordingly. The ordinances, presented by the Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA), are designed to streamline the project review process and add certainty for CDA planners, applicants, and neighbors as well.

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The County of Marin is expanding access to more rental and ownership options for working families while retaining local ability to ensure that new housing development occurs in a way that meets the County’s needs.
The County of Marin is expanding access to more rental and ownership options for working families while retaining local ability to ensure that new housing development occurs in a way that meets the County’s needs.

Ordinances designed to retain control of developments in unincorporated areas

Courtesy of Marin County

By adopting three State Legislature statutes, the County of Marin is expanding access to more rental and ownership options for working families while retaining local ability to ensure that new housing development occurs in a way that meets the County’s needs.

The Marin County Board of Supervisors passed interim ordinances at its May 10 meeting to implement Senate Bills (SB) 35 and 9 following an earlier recommendation by the Marin County Planning Commission. The ordinances — one for SB 35 and two for SB 9 — bring the County in line with recent state legislation that will affect residential developments in unincorporated areas of Marin, adding measures that tailor the approval of housing for local safety, affordability, and habitat considerations.

Over the course of the next several months, the County is preparing changes in housing policies and regulations that will incorporate the state laws. Meanwhile, the laws are in effect and the County must implement them accordingly. The ordinances, presented by the Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA), are designed to streamline the project review process and add certainty for CDA planners, applicants, and neighbors as well.

The ordinances include standards for floor-area ratios, maximum heights, minimum setbacks, and protections for streams and wetlands. For instance, they require newly created lots to have access from a public street, restrict new development to areas outside stream and wetland buffers, and caps the maximum size of homes that could be built through the streamlined review processes. Documents with details are on the CDA website.

The lack of housing, especially affordable homes for lower-income families, is considered a crisis in Marin, where the median home price hovers near $1.5 million. Many people who work in Marin cannot afford to live close to their workplaces, resulting in long commutes, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and stand-still traffic. The Supervisors and CDA have encouraged development of new affordable homes near existing neighborhoods, schools, business, and transportation options. The state bills, and the Board’s action that sets clear guidelines for the County’s implementation, can help ease the addition of a variety of types of housing to serve Marin’s needs.

“It’s important for the County to adopt these interim ordinances toward applying local discretion when and where we can,” said Board President Katie Rice, the District 2 Supervisor. “As we adapt our land-use regulations to comply with state law, we want to do it in a responsible manner and retain as much decision-making leverage on the local level as possible. During this interim period while we prepare the Housing Element, we’ve equipped ourselves to look out for top priorities like safety in Marin’s communities.”

SB 9, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2022, is widely viewed as a law to allow duplexes on lots within zoning districts for single-family homes, but it also pertains to single-family homes. Generally, the law encourages housing development by removing a local jurisdiction’s authority to require discretionary review for qualifying one- and two-unit projects and prohibits use of units created under its provisions as short-term rentals.

SB 35, effective as of January 2018, is intended to streamline the review of larger developments, such as apartment buildings that would provide a substantial amount of affordable housing. Developers benefit from SB 35 because no discretionary review is allowable as long as they meet the mandates of the law. Counties are allowed to establish ministerial requirements on design specifications for such multifamily projects, and the Planning Commission will consider whether the proposals meet standards for floor area ratios, maximum heights, minimum setbacks, and protections for streams and wetlands.

Both state laws are only applicable in urban and suburban areas and are unrelated to the planning process in rural and coastal zones.

Permanent amendments to the Development Code (Marin County Code Title 22) will be proposed alongside the Housing and Safety Element updates to the Countywide Plan and presented for consideration to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors toward the end of 2022.

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Arts and Culture

Third Annual Town Up Tuesday Lifts Oakland’s Community, Culture and Joy

Urban Peace Movement announced Town Up Tuesday, a free community music and social awareness festival dedicated to the people of Oakland to celebrate Bay Area culture and create safety by fostering connection and belonging. It will be on Tuesday, May 21, at Edoff Memorial Bandstand at Lake Merritt from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria. Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.
The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria. Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.

By Kyung Jin Lee

Urban Peace Movement announced Town Up Tuesday, a free community music and social awareness festival dedicated to the people of Oakland to celebrate Bay Area culture and create safety by fostering connection and belonging.

It will be on Tuesday, May 21, at Edoff Memorial Bandstand at Lake Merritt from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria.

Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.

Past performers have included: Kamaiyah, Yukmouth, Stunnaman02, Symba, Lil Kayla, Grand Nationxl, Jane Handcock, and D Smoke, among others.

“Oakland is a historically Black city and one of the most diverse and progressive in the country — a city rich with culture,” said Nicole Lee, executive director of the Urban Peace Movement.

“At a time when we are being scapegoated for political gain and negative narratives of Oakland permeate the press, we’re uplifting who we truly are and all the things that make this region so special.”

About Urban Peace Movement: Urban Peace Movement (UPM) is a racial justice organization working to end mass incarceration and the criminalization of Black and Brown communities in Oakland. https://urbanpeacemovement.org/ @urbanpeace510

Kyung Jin Lee is the media representative for the Urban Peace Movement.

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Bay Area

California Makes Strides in Fight Against Fentanyl

California National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force has seized over 7,000 pounds of fentanyl including 3.4 million pills since the state launched a multi-agency operation in January 2024. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state’s progress on May 7, National Fentanyl Awareness Day. The Governor said he deployed the state’s highway patrol and National Guard personnel last year as part of a public safety operation in partnership with local government officials and law enforcement.

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In the past five years, California has invested $1.1 billion in operations and initiatives to fight crime, support local law enforcement, and improve public safety. The Newsom administration has implemented a comprehensive approach as part of the governor’s Master Plan to tackle the fentanyl and opioid crisis.

By California Black Media

California National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force has seized over 7,000 pounds of fentanyl including 3.4 million pills since the state launched a multi-agency operation in January 2024.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state’s progress on May 7, National Fentanyl Awareness Day.

The Governor said he deployed the state’s highway patrol and National Guard personnel last year as part of a public safety operation in partnership with local government officials and law enforcement.

“As we recognize the serious dangers of illegal fentanyl, California is continuing to tackle this issue head-on. Our efforts are getting this poison off our streets and out of our communities as we continue to support people struggling with substance use.” Newsom said.

CalGuard Major General Matthew Beevers said that the state’s unprecedented investment in the Counterdrug Task Force has immobilized operations and revenue channels of transnational criminal organizations.

“The CalGuard is committed to supporting our state, federal, local and tribal law enforcement partners to eliminate the scourge of fentanyl,” Beevers said.

In the past five years, California has invested $1.1 billion in operations and initiatives to fight crime, support local law enforcement, and improve public safety. The Newsom administration has implemented a comprehensive approach as part of the governor’s Master Plan to tackle the fentanyl and opioid crisis.

The Newsom administration has expanded efforts to improve public safety across the state where operations occurred in cities such as San Francisco, Oakland, and Bakersfield.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed acknowledged that joint operation was a step in the right direction toward curbing illegal activity and improving public safety.

“Our coordinated work to shut down drug markets in San Francisco is making a difference, but we have more work to do,” Breed said.

“Together we are sending a message at all levels of government that anyone selling fentanyl in this city will be arrested and prosecuted,” she said.

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Alameda County

Community Rally Demands Supervisors Merge Recall with Regular Elections

A group of community-based organizations rallied prior to the May 14 Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ vote to persuade the Board to vote to merge the recall election of District Attorney Pamela Price with the regularly scheduled election calendar in November. The groups urged the county to use the funds for healthcare and homelessness relief rather than a special election.

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Special to The Post
Special to The Post

By Post Staff

A group of community-based organizations rallied prior to the May 14 Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ vote to persuade the Board to vote to merge the recall election of District Attorney Pamela Price with the regularly scheduled election calendar in November.

The groups urged the county to use the funds for healthcare and homelessness relief rather than a special election.

Stewart Chen, a member of the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council, told the Post that he and many members of the community-based participants supported the decision made by the Supervisors.

Chen said, “The voters voting in a special election in September will likely vote the same way in the November election. An extra two months won’t change people’s minds, but it will result in significant savings for the county. During times of financial uncertainty, especially when the county healthcare system is facing a huge deficit, it is unnecessary to waste taxpayers’ money on a special election that can easily wait two months.”

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