July 2020
Cow Hollow Association Newsletter
The Cow Hollow Association is dedicated to protecting and preserving the quality of life and residential character in the Cow Hollow neighborhood.
We welcome your involvement and support.
Pending Housing Bills Threaten Cow Hollow

We are asking you to express your opposition!
It only takes 5 minutes; please do it today.
See instructions for submitting your position on bills at the end of this article.
California is facing a significant housing shortage, and it is principally a shortage of affordable housing for our teachers, municipal support workers, first responders, service workers, etc.

Instead of seeking innovative private or government financing to help fund such housing, a group of legislators is now seeking to finance residential building by giving developers and builders huge building height and density bonuses enabling them to construct market rate and luxury residences. At the same time, these bills are limiting the rights of residents to contest the negative impacts those excessive building bonuses will have on us, including in single family residential areas.

Claiming Covid-19 as an excuse to kill transparency and evade full public debate, both the Assembly and Senate are fast-tracking bills through just one policy committee instead of debating in 2 or 3 committees. These bills claim to be addressing the housing shortage, but actually serve to advance developer profitability at the expense of local input, quality of life, and affordable housing.

Do you want 4 to 10 units popping up next to you with no opportunity to object? Most people have NO IDEA about the far-reaching negative effects of these bills. When they are voted on by the legislature, and if they pass, they become law. We the people do not get to vote on them in November, which is why it is imperative you write to your Assembly and Senate representatives NOW. The only thing that can stop this is us: by letting all the legislators know that we strongly oppose this.

This legislation will be reviewed starting July 27 th  and voted on by August 13th - please have your response in no later than August 3rd to be counted. The only way to ensure that your oppositions are included in the official Legislative Analyst’s report to all the legislators is by submitting them on the official Cal Legislature Position Letter Portal.

If there is ever housing legislation that will so adversely impact our neighborhood, the City and the State, this is surely it.


SB 902 (Wiener) would allow a local government “to zone any parcel for up to 10 units of residential density per parcel.” And the bill is simply undemocratic. It permits a local governmental body to override and/or prohibit voter-enacted initiatives that are inconsistent with the hugely increased density and height limits for residential buildings to be authorized by other pending bills. This in effect renders voter passed laws null and void. There’s more: SB 902 also prohibits any environmental impact review pursuant to current state law of any increased density and/or height residential project authorized by these pending bills, no matter how severe that impact may be.

SB 1120 (Wiener/Atkins) would allow lot splitting in single family RH-1 areas, and then adding 2 duplexes on each of the newly created lots (the equivalent of 4 units where 1 is now), thereby destroying mid-block open space and the character of our neighborhoods.

AB 3107 (Ting/Chiu/Bloom) would Manhattanize San Francisco by allowing the residential development of commercial areas to go as high as the tallest building anywhere up to a half-mile away, thus giving us scattershot buildings much, much, much taller than area zoning would otherwise allow.  Imagine a building as tall as Fontana Towers (17 stories) being built on Lombard Street. Three years later, that height is built on Chestnut Street. And three years later a string of Fontana Tower size buildings along Marina Boulevard essentially changing the character of our neighborhood and waterfront forever.

SB 1085 (Skinner) would cut in HALF the number of affordable housing units required for a multi-unit project to qualify for incentives or concessions under the State Density Bonus law (SB35) enacted in 2017.   NOTE: the State Density Bonus allows greatly increased mass and height construction of multi-unit residential buildings above current zoning maximums. What we most need is affordable housing, not market rate and luxury residences subsidized at our expense by the building bonuses given to builders and developers by this and related legislation.

Are you looking for a housing bill to support?

SB 1299 (Portantino) would, during this time of COVID-19 with its record retail business closings and high unemployment, use our valuable state resources to solve two problems. It supports converting closed big box retail and commercial shopping centers into workforce housing developments. Retail real estate is undergoing a massive transformation. These stores will not reopen; they need to be repurposed. Building more housing that is affordable to those earning BELOW MEDIAN income is a key need. SB 1299 would provide local governments with grants to replace lost sales tax revenue if they rezone big-box or shopping center parcels to allow affordable housing developments. 


Instructions for using California Legislative Portal. Please take 5 minutes to register your position on all of these bills at one location: the Cal Legislature Position Letter Portal . Here’s how: 

  • Create Account
  • Go to Cal Legislature Portal and "Create an account".
  • Answer "No" to the two questions: Are you a registered lobbyist? Do you represent an organization, registered or otherwise? It is important to register as an individual and NOT as the Cow Hollow Association.
  • Fill out the user details including your name, address, email and security question, then click "Register".
  • You will immediately receive an email from Position Letter Support Team with a temporary password and link to create your own personalized password. 
  • Log in to the Portal.
  • Submit Your Stance
  • Enter the bill’s letter & number (e.g., SB 902) in the fields on the left (keep Session Type as Regular)
  • The "bad bills" are SB 902, SB 1085, SB 1120, AB 3107
  • The "good bill" is SB 1299
  • Click “Search" and table will populate with a brief description of the bill.
  • To the right, you’ll see two radio buttons (Oppose and Support), click on the appropriate button to register your stance. 
  • Enter a short comment:
  • "I oppose this bill.” or “Oppose.” (or copy/paste language from this article) into the comment field.
  • You do not need to write a letter or a lot of text in the comment field, but you do need to enter at least one word for the website to register your position.
  • Click “Submit”.
  • Click on the link “Return to Note Submission Page” in the upper right-hand corner. You are returned to the landing page where you enter the next bill’s House (AB or SB) and bill number and hit “Search” again. 

These positions are tallied daily. It’s important that you register your position on bills. The legislators keep track of the tallies, and the comments are less important. 
Please consider making a donation now and begin your CHA membership of $45 annually to help make a difference. If you would like to donate more than $45 annual dues, it would be greatly appreciated and go towards covering the growing expenses to take a stand on local and statewide issues that threaten the character of our community. Tax deductible donations can also include family foundations and special IRA provisions. See our website for more information. There is also the option for automatic renewals. Thank you!
Cow Hollow Association Board
David Bancroft, Anne Bertrand, Lori Brooke, Don Emmons,
Cynthia Gissler, Barbara Heffernan, Karen Laughlin, 
Claire Mills, Victoria Osman, Veronica Taisch, Geoff Wood