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Last Year’s Parking Bill AB 710 Resurrected in AB 904

Creates Disincentive for Infill Projects and Hurts Affordable Housing

June 15, 2012

On Tuesday, AB 904 (Skinner) was gutted and amended from an energy bill into a revival of last year’s parking bill, AB 710 (Skinner).


AB 710 was strongly opposed because it prohibited communities from determining the level of sufficient parking appropriate for their neighborhoods. AB 904, sponsored by the infill builders, fails to address the League’s concerns from last year’s AB 710. The League opposes AB 904 in the continued fight on this issue.

Proposed Standards

AB 904 creates an unworkable standard by proposing:

  • One parking space per 1,000 square feet of nonresidential improvements;
  • One parking space per unit of housing;
  • 0.75 parking spaces per unit for density bonus projects; and
  • 0.50 parking spaces per unit for affordable housing projects.

The bill makes no exceptions for unique parking circumstances or a type of project. AB 904 would cap parking standards for commercial projects like medical offices, hospitals, restaurants, and shopping malls at one parking space per 1,000 square feet. For example, a city could only require 10 parking spaces for a 10,000 square foot shopping center.

For residential projects, the bill also makes no allowance for the size of the project, allowing a maximum of one parking space per residential unit, regardless of the number of bedrooms. Affordable housing projects are limited even further to one-half of one parking spot. This provision apparently assumes that affordable housing residents are somehow less worthy of parking than other residents.

Disincentive for Affordable Housing

This bill was drafted by developers to provide incentives to developers and fails to take into consideration the realities of planning for communities. Under AB 904, if a community promotes infill and transit, the community will be subjected to these arbitrary and punitive prescriptive parking requirements. For local jurisdictions, AB 904 acts as a punishment not an incentive. Despite the bill’s intent to encourage infill development, one of the unintended consequences may be that local communities will choose to abandon infill development.

In an environment where infill building should be encouraged, local governments that attempt to grow their communities responsibly are punitively and arbitrarily restricted by these unattainable, unworkable standards.

AB 904 is anticipated to be heard in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on Wednesday, June 27. However, hearing times are subject to change.

City officials are strongly encouraged to send opposition letters. The League’s position letter and a sample opposition letter are available on the League’s website by typing “AB 904” into the search box.

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