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Legislature Pushes New Legislation to Address California’s Housing Affordability Crisis

March 8, 2018
With the ink barely dry on the 15 bill housing package Gov. Jerry Brown signed last fall, legislators in 2018 are pushing a new batch of bills to make additional changes to housing laws. 
 
The League is currently analyzing bills and is in the process of taking positions. It is important for cities to begin tracking these bills and prepare to engage.
 
Proposed housing legislation this year can be grouped into several main areas: planning and zoning, accessory dwelling units, density bonus, parking restrictions, and homelessness.   
 
Planning and Zoning
  • AB 1771 (Bloom). This is currently a spot bill that will likely seek to change the housing allocation process.
  • AB 2631 (Allen). This bill would seek to streamline the affordable housing process by requiring cities to approve in a ministerial manner (by right) projects that meet certain criteria. These projects would also have limited design review, no parking requirements and would prohibit inclusionary requirements.
  • SB 827 (Weiner). This bill would exempt certain housing projects from locally developed and adopted height limitations, densities, parking requirements, and design review standards. It would allow the project developer to determine density and height, which could range from 45–105 feet depending on its radius from “transit corridor” or “major transit stop.” The League is opposed to SB 827.
  • SB 828 (Weiner). This bill primarily contains intent language to require a local jurisdiction to plan and accommodate 200 percent of the Regional Housing Number Allocation (RHNA) and would establish a methodology for the comprehensive assessment of unmet housing need.
Accessory Dwelling Units
 
The largest category of housing bills seek to make changes to laws governing accessory dwelling units (ADUs).
  • AB 2017 (Bloom). This bill would limit a public entity’s liability with regard to an owner attempting to bring the ADU into compliance with applicable local agency rules, regulations, or ordinances.
  • AB 2939 (Ting). This bill would require local agencies to ministerially approve an application for a building permit to create within a multi-family zone at least one accessory dwelling unit within an existing multifamily structure with at least five residential units.
  • SB 831 (Wieckowski). This bill would allow ADUs on any lot that is zoned for home construction, require the local agency to act on project applications within 120 days or project would be considered approved and restricts the city from imposing any fees on the project. It would also exempt any minimum lot requirement unless there are specific public safety impacts found. 
  • SB 893 (Nguyen). This bill would delete existing law that restricts parking requirements for developments that include the maximum percentage of low- or very low-income units located within one-half mile of a major transit stop.
  • SB 1226 (Bates). This bill would allow a local ordinance to authorize, when a record of the issuance of a building permit for an accessory dwelling unit does not exist, an enforcement official to make a determination of when the accessory dwelling unit was constructed and apply the State Housing Law, the building standards published in the California Building Standards Code, and other specified rules and regulations in effect when the accessory dwelling unit was determined to be constructed in order to issue a building permit for the accessory dwelling unit.
Density Bonus
  • AB 2372 (Gloria). This bill would authorize a city council or county board of supervisors to establish a procedure by ordinance to grant a developer of an eligible housing development a floor area ratio bonus in lieu of a density bonus awarded on the basis of dwelling units per acre. It would be restricted only to multi-family developments
  • AB 2753 (Friedman). This bill would require that if a city or county does not determine whether a density bonus application is complete within 30 calendar days after it was submitted, or within 10 days in the case of a resubmitted application, then that application is deemed approved. It would also require that a city or county, within 60 calendar days after determining an application is complete, act to approve or disapprove the density bonus, and would provide that if the city or county fails to do so within that time period the application is deemed complete and the requested bonus is granted.
  • AB 2792 (Bloom). This bill would prohibit any density bonus, incentives or concessions, waivers or reductions of development standards, and parking ratios from being a basis for finding a project inconsistent with “highly scenic areas.”
  • SB 1227 (Skinner). This bill would require a density bonus to be provided if the development includes at least 20 percent of the total rental beds for students enrolled at an institution of higher education accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It also would require that units be subject to a recorded affordability restriction of 55 years and be provided at the same affordability level as very low-income units and would set the density bonus to 35 percent.
Parking Restrictions
 
Two bills the League is tracking this year look to restrict cities’ authority to impose parking space requirements for developments.
  • AB 2263 (Friedman). This bill would prohibit a local ordinance from imposing parking standards that exceed the parking standards that applied at the time the historical building was originally constructed for the conversion of a historical structure for residential or mixed use purposes.
  • AB 3000 (Friedman). This bill would prohibit a city, county or city and county from imposing minimum parking requirements for new housing developments where off street parking is permitted.
Homelessness
 
Supporting additional resources to address California’s homelessness crisis is one of the League’s strategic goals. It is very encouraging to see that legislators are again focused on this issue and looking to increase funding available to cities to create programs and strategies to help California’s homeless residents. The League has not taken a position on these bills, which will likely be debated as part of the state budget process later this spring.
 
These bills include:
  • AB 2161 (Chiu). This bill would direct the Department of Housing and Community Development to create a state homeless integrated data warehouse, in coordination with the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council, to develop a composite portrayal of the homeless population in the state and the services provided to this population or to those at risk of becoming homeless.
  • AB 2162 (Chiu). This would require that supportive housing be approved by right in zones where multiple dwelling uses are permitted, including commercial zones.
  • AB 3171 (Ting). This bill would establish the Local Homelessness Solutions Program and creates the Local Homelessness Solutions Account for the purpose of providing funding to cities to create innovative and immediate solutions to the problems caused by homelessness. This would be a $1.5 billion state budget allocation.
  • SB 912 (Beall). This bill would make a one-time allocation of $2 billion to fund programs that serve the homeless as well as existing HCD administered housing programs for housing low- and moderate-income families.
  • SB 918 (Weiner). This bill would establish the Office of Homeless Youth in the Department of Housing and Community Development and would appropriate up to $60 million for grates to nonprofits or a continuum of care administrative entity.
Other Important Bills
 
There are several other housing-related bills that do not fall into the above categories. These include:
  • SB 946 (Lara). This bill would prohibit a local authority from adopting rules or regulations that regulate or prohibit sidewalk vendors unless it first adopts a sidewalk vending licensing program that requires a sidewalk vendor to obtain a license from the local authority before selling food or merchandise. It also would prohibit restricting the location of a licensed sidewalk vendor unless the restriction is directly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concerns and licensed sidewalk vendors from selling food or merchandise in a park.
  • AB 3147 (Caballero). This bill would prohibit a housing development project from being subject to a fee, charge, dedication, reservation, or other exaction that is more than that in effect at the time that the application for the housing development project is determined to be complete.
  • AB 3162 (Friedman). This bill would require, for any licensing application submitted on or after Jan. 1, 2019, the department to deny an application for a new facility license, if the proposed location is in proximity to an existing facility that would result in overconcentration. The department would also be required to post the address of the proposed facility on its website at least 45 days prior to approving any application for any new facility.
  • AB 3194 (Daly). This bill would prohibit a housing development project from being found inconsistent, not in compliance, or not in conformity, with the applicable zoning ordinance, and would prohibit a local government from requiring a rezoning of the project site, if the existing zoning ordinance does not allow the maximum residential use, density, and intensity allowable on the site by the land use or housing element of the general plan.


 
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