The signing ceremony caps a legislative year usually focused on housing production at all income levels. Lawmakers introduced more than 130 housing related bills, many of which targeted local discretion and land use authority.
While the League opposed some of the dozen or so bills that make up the housing package, it strongly supported measures that increase funding for affordable housing and appropriately streamline local housing approvals. Below are the measures the Governor signed into law.
League Blueprint for More Housing Legislation
SB 2 and SB 3 Provide the Needed Funding to Spur Housing Construction
- SB 2 (Atkins) The Building Homes and Jobs Act: Generates hundreds of millions of dollars each year for affordable housing, emergency shelters and other housing needs via a $75 recording fee on specified real estate documents. In the first year, 50 percent of the funds are set aside for local plans. In all other years, 70 percent of the funds are allocated to cities and counties through the CDBG formula.
- SB 3 (Beall) The Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018: Places a $4 billion general obligation bond on the November 2018 ballot to fund veteran housing programs, affordable housing and infill infrastructure projects.
SB 540 (Roth) Streamlines Housing Approvals While Continuing to Protect Public Engagement
- SB 540 (Roth) Workforce Housing Opportunity Zones:Streamlines the housing approval process by having cities identify Workforce Housing Opportunity Zones, which will focus on workforce and affordable housing in areas close to jobs and transit and conform to California’s greenhouse gas reduction laws. Housing developments within these planned areas can proceed in an expedited manner. Because the local government has fully complied with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), no project-specific additional environmental reviews shall be needed. The environmental review and project streamlining shall be good for five years, to provide the development community with needed certainty.
Other Notable Housing Related Bills Signed by the Governor
- SB 35 (Wiener) Streamline Housing Approval Process: Streamlines multifamily housing project approvals by eliminating public input, prohibiting CEQA, and removing local discretion.
- SB 167 (Skinner) and AB 678 (Bocanegra) Housing Accountability Act: Makes numerous changes to the Housing Accountability Act including: requiring findings to be based on “a preponderance of evidence”; imposes mandatory fines ($10,000) on cities that fail to comply with a judge’s order within 60 days; and allows enhanced fines (a factor of five) if a city acts in bad faith.
- AB 72 (Santiago) Attorney General: Enforcement of Housing: Provides the Department of Housing and Community Development broad new authority to review any action by a city or county that it determines is inconsistent with an adopted housing element.
- AB 73 (Chiu) Housing Sustainability Districts: Allows a city or county to create a housing sustainability district to complete upfront zoning and environmental review in order to receive incentive payments for development projects that are consistent with the district's ordinance.
- AB 879 (Grayson) Planning and Zoning: Housing Element: Requires the California Department of Housing and Community Development to undertake a study to make recommendations regarding potential amendments to the Mitigation Fee Act to substantially reduce fees for residential development.
- AB 1397 (Low) Housing Element: Inventory of Land for Residential Development: Requires lands in a city’s housing element to include vacant sites and sites that have “realistic and demonstrated potential” for redevelopment to meet a portion of the locality’s housing need for a designated income level.
- AB 1505 (Bloom) Land Use: Zoning Regulations: Clarifies and strengthens local authority to enact inclusionary rental housing programs in accordance with their police power in an effort to address the shortage of affordable housing.
- AB 1515 (Daly) Housing Accountability Act: Allows a court to determine whether a project is consistent with local zoning and general plan by selecting the substantial evidence it wishes to rely on rather than reviewing whether the city council relied upon substantial evidence.
League staff will be developing important informational materials in the next few weeks to assist cities with understanding the practical impacts of the housing package at the local level. Additionally, the League will host a series of webinars and in person briefing in several regions of the state. Key dates and times will be released shortly.