Continuing its march toward the governor’s desk is a CAA-cosponsored bill that would create a streamlined appeals process when local governments illegally reject housing developments.

On a 6-0 vote Thursday, the Senate Housing Committee approved AB 989 by Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, D-Van Nuys. It next goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel

The legislation seeks to speed up development by creating an appeals process for housing developers when cities and counties violate California’s Housing Accountability Act. Under the act, cities and counties are prohibited from rejecting housing developments unless certain conditions exist, yet officials frequently reject projects in defiance of the law.

“While the Housing Accountability Act is a strong law governing local land use decisions on affordable housing developments, most developers are reluctant to go to court to challenge a city or county that violates the law due to the time, expense, and uncertainty given judges’ lack of familiarity with the law,” the fact sheet reads. “As a result of this lack of enforcement, the law is less effective than it should be.”

AB 989 seeks to remedy this situation by creating an Office of Housing Appeals to adjudicate violations of the Housing Accountability Act.

“This provides a quicker, less expensive, less confrontational, and more consistent alternative to enforcing state housing laws in court,” said Tony Bui, CAA’s senior vice president, state public affairs.

To be eligible for an appeal to Office of Housing Appeals, a development must include a percentage of affordable units.