Santa Ana residents who are sore about the new apartments being developed in town are really going to be upset when they hear about Senate Bill 50, a bill by State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who is trying to resolve the 3.5-million-home deficit in California.
Senate Bill 50 is a second attempt at making it easier to build high density housing by essentially circumventing local planning regulations if certain conditions exist. Senate Bill 50 is very likely to apply to much of Santa Ana.
SB 50 would waive allow for the construction of apartments near “high-quality transit” – meaning within a half-mile of a rail station or a quarter-mile of a bus stop with frequent service – and also in job-rich areas – which are identified by the Department of Housing and Community Development and the Office of Planning and Research. Developments located within a half-mile radius of a transit stop, but outside of a quarter-mile radius, would be eligible for waivers from height limits less than 45 feet and FAR limits of 2.5-to-1. Developments located within a quarter-mile radius of a transit stop would be eligible for waivers for height requirements under 55 feet and FAR limits of 3.25-to-1. According to a release from the advocacy organization California YIMBY, this effectively amounts to four- and five-story buildings, according to Urbanize L.A.
All of that is of course good news for developer Ryan Ogulnick, who is trying to build a new high quality apartment development at 2525 N. Main St., which is located just a quarter mile from two busy bus stops and is in an area replete with medical, retail and office jobs. In short SB 50 would ensure that his project would be approved even if the City of Santa Ana did not approve it. Of course that approval is now almost a certainty as the project’s EIR (Environmental Impact Report) was very positive and the Santa Ana Planning Agency’s staff review of the EIR was also glowing. It is now just a formality for the Santa Ana Planning Commission and eventually the Santa Ana City Council to approve this project.
SB 50 ensures that Ogulnick’s project won’t be the last of its kind. In fact another huge project is currently being planned at the MainPlace Mall.
SB 50 has the support of local Republican hero State Senator John Moorlach – the man who predicted the Orange County bankruptcy. While the GOP has little pull in Sacramento, Moorlach’s support for SB 50 means this bill is likely go pass the State Legislature and I would be shocked if incoming Governor Gavin Newsom did not sign it.