Prioritizing Surplus Government Land for Affordable Housing

On July 9, 2018 the Sacramento Housing Alliance and the Environmental Council of Sacramento submitted a letter to the Mayor of the City of Sacramento for the purpose of making inquiries into the adherence to the surplus land statute.

Here is an excerpt from the letter. Click here to read the full letter (PDF).


Dear Mayor Darrell Steinberg,

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) and Sacramento Housing Alliance (SHA) are writing to inquire as to the City of Sacramento’s efforts to fully comply with the Surplus Land Statute, as amended by AB 2135 (Ting, Statutes of 2014)1, which requires prioritizing surplus government land for affordable housing. In short, the law requires all public agencies to offer surplus land to “housing sponsors” – that is, affordable housing developers –provided said developers have written and requested to be notified, and, should those sponsors express interest, enter into good faith negotiations for 90 days (Gov. Code, §§ 54222, 54223). Only if a compromise cannot be reached can the city sell it on the open market. We are proud to see that as our representative in the California State Senate, you voted in favor of AB 2135, which added important changes to the Surplus Land Act in 2014.

We are prompted to offer this reminder of the Surplus Land Act because of concerning trends in the sale of city properties. Reviewing recent sales of seven city owned lots, only one was sold to an affordable housing non-profit (City of Refuge, who plans to build a homeless shelter for women and children on the land). The other six were sold to for-profit entities. Most alarming is the case of 4722 9th Ave and 4601-4625 10th Ave, where the city rejected a proposal to build 130-195 affordable rental units in favor of market rate apartments.

… (continued)


Again, click here to read the full letter (PDF).

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ECOS Comments on the Folsom General Plan

On June 25, 2018, ECOS submitted our comments/testimony on the latest changes to the City of Folsom’s General Plan.

Here is an excerpt:


ECOS and Habitat 2020 are greatly relieved to see that the Study Area for new City growth south of White Rock road has been removed from the General plan.

Further growth in this area would pose potentially un-mitigatable impacts to invaluable agricultural and biological resources and severely inhibit successful implementation of the South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan (SSHCP), currently in its final phase of adoption after decades of development.

Further growth in this area would be critically inconsistent with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments’ (SACOG) Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (MTP/SCS) for meeting State mandated greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, Federal mandates for Air Quality Attainment under the State Improvement Plan (SIP), as well as myriad regional goals for social equity, public health and natural resource conservation.

Finally, ECOS is extremely concerned about the ability of the City to supply adequate water supplies to this potential growth area, or any new expansion area. With the decision to supply the City’s current expansion south of US 50 solely with conservation efforts of existing supplies, it is apparent that the City has fully allocated those supplies. We remain concerned that the City will not be able to supply the current expansion area without severe burdens on existing residents with the mandatory cut-backs in supply that the City is subject to in Dry and Extremely Dry years. We have not seen evidence that the City has yet acquired back up supplies to prevent these burdens, and given this, it is extremely difficult to see how the City could speculate on further expansion of their footprint.


Click here to read the full comment letter.

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Save Our Groundwater!

June 6, 2018

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) filed a comment in March of 2017 on the Sacramento Central Groundwater Authority’s (SCGA) petition to be deemed an acceptable “alternative plan” under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The purpose of our June 6, 2018 letter is to reiterate our opposition to that petition and to urge the Department of Water Resources (DWR) again to find that SCGA is not in compliance with SGMA.

Some highlights:

  • groundwater levels continue to fall in the portions of the basin that most affect the important ecological resources of the lower Cosumnes watershed
  • SCGA continues to make little effort to encourage or facilitate public engagement in its ongoing deliberations
  • SCGA does no targeted outreach, apparently maintains no list of interested parties, and has a web site that is of very limited usefulness
  • SCGA needs to recognize that public engagement is a key component of SGMA compliance
  • SCGA is currently reassessing its rate structure and could adjust its rates to account for costs of both plan preparation and projects/programs to which they have committed and to date ignored

Click here to see the letter in full (PDF).

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