October 21, 2019
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed 18 bills intended to address California’s chronic housing shortage this month. The bills are expected to help remove local barriers to housing construction, boost incentives for building higher-density affordable housing, and make it easier and cheaper to add second units to residential lots.
Gov. Newsom said, “We’ve invested more in new housing than at any point in our history, and we have created powerful new tools to incentivize housing production. Now, we are removing some key local barriers to housing production. This crisis has been more than a half century in the making, and this Administration is just getting started on solutions.”
Among the key pieces of legislation set to take effect Jan. 1 that are designed to help boost California’s housing supply are:
Streamlining Housing Approvals
• SB 330 establishes the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, which will accelerate housing production in California by streamlining permitting and approval processes, ensuring no net loss in zoning capacity and limiting fees after projects are approved.
• AB 1485 will build on existing environmental streamlining law, and encourage moderate-income housing production.
• AB 1763 creates more affordable housing by giving 100% affordable housing developments an enhanced density bonus to encourage development.
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)
• AB 68 makes major changes to facilitate the development of more ADUs and address barriers to building. The bill reduces barriers to ADU approval and construction, which will increase production of these low-cost, energy-efficient units and add to California’s affordable housing supply.
• AB 881 removes impediments to ADU construction by restricting local jurisdictions’ permitting criteria, clarifying that ADUs must receive streamlined approval if constructed in existing garages, and eliminating local agencies’ ability to require owner-occupancy for five years.
• SB 13 creates a tiered fee structure which charges ADUs more fairly based on their size and location. The bill also addresses other barriers by lowering the application approval timeframe, creating an avenue to get unpermitted ADUs up to code, and enhancing an enforcement mechanism allowing the state to ensure that localities are following ADU statute.
• AB 671 requires local governments’ housing plans to encourage affordable ADU rentals, and requires the state to develop a list of state grants and financial incentives for affordable ADUs.
• SB 6 requires the state to create a public inventory of local sites suitable for residential development, along with state surplus lands.
• AB 1255 requires cities and counties to report to the state an inventory of its surplus lands in urbanized areas. The bill then requires the state to include this information in a digitized inventory of state surplus land sites.
• AB 1486 expands Surplus Land Act requirements for local agencies, requires local governments to include specified information relating to surplus lands in their housing elements and annual progress reports (APRs), and requires the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to establish a database of surplus lands, as specified.
• AB 587 provides a narrow exemption for affordable housing organizations to sell deed-restricted land to eligible low-income homeowners.
• AB 1483 requires local jurisdiction to publicly share information about zoning ordinances, development standards, fees, exactions, and affordability requirements. The bill also requires the Department of Housing and Community Development to develop and update a 10-year housing data strategy.
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Kaiser