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SB 35 Determinations Issued; What’s Next for Cities

February 2, 2018
It is not surprising that the SB 35 Statewide Determination Summary includes nearly every city and county in California because state formula-generated housing need numbers have always ignored actual market conditions and the availability of affordable housing subsidies.
 
Prior to the recession, development was booming at over 200,000 units per year. Local redevelopment agencies were also spending over $1 billion per year on affordable housing. Then the market crashed and foreclosures gripped communities throughout the state and nation. The state only produced 40,000 units in 2009. The Legislature two years later eliminated redevelopment agencies and most affordable housing subsidies vanished. However, even with these factors, the state did not adjust the number of housing units it determined should be produced.
 
The housing market is now slowly recovering and in 2019, 130,000 units are expected to be built. In addition, apartment construction levels are at a 26-year high. Few resources, however, exist for affordable housing. The League is supporting a $4 billion housing bond that will appear on the statewide ballot in November 2018.
 
The League believes when the state determines the number of housing units that need to be built it should carefully consider actual market conditions and the lack of adequate resources available to build affordable units.
 
SB 35 and Streamlining
 
Cities subject to SB 35 streamlining are likely considering what they must do. There are several important provisions of the bill that cities may want to review.
 
If a developer requests SB 35 streamlining, the project and the developer must comply with the following:
  • The site is suitable for development. The following sites are excluded from SB 35 streamlining:
    • Sites in Coastal zone;
    • Sites on which housing occupied by tenants demolished in last 10 years;
    • Sites with existing rental housing occupied by tenants in last ten years required to be demolished;
    • Sites with historical structure required to be demolished for project; 
    • Sites subject to Mobilehome Residency Law, the Recreational Vehicle Park Occupancy Law, the Mobilehome Parks Act or the Special Occupancy Act;
    • Sites on prime farmland or farmland of statewide importance;
    • Sites on wetlands;
    • Sites within delineated earthquake zone;
    • Sites within a FEMA floodplain unless flood plain development permit;
    • Sites within a FEMA floodway unless no rise certification;
    • Sites on habitat for protected species; and
    • Sites zoned for non-residential use (unless the General Plan allows residential).
  • The site contains a multifamily housing development which 75 percent adjoins parcels that are developed with urban uses. 
  • The project includes the following affordability:
    • 10 percent of the units are available for households with incomes of below 80 percent of the area median income (AMI) if the annual report reflects fewer units of above-moderate approved than required;
    • 50 percent of the units are available for households with incomes below 80 percent of AMI if the annual report reflects fewer units of lower income issued building permits than required; or
    • If both apply, then the developer chooses.The project is consistent with objective zoning standards and objective design review standards.
  •  The project is consistent with objective zoning standards and objective design review standards. 
  • The development is a “public work” or construction workers will be paid at least the general prevailing wage rate and a “skilled and trained workforce” will be used.
Additional Information
 
Given the number of site exclusions and developer requirements, it is unclear how many projects will be constructed using SB 35 streamlining. 
 
For additional information regarding SB 35 or other changes to California housing law, see the League’s 2018 Guide to New Housing Law in California.
 
The Department of Housing and Community Development has also release additional information regarding the 2017 Housing Package and an upcoming SB 35 Webinar on Feb. 6, from 3:30—4:30 p.m.
 


 
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