Gov. Gavin Newsom this month signed more than a dozen CAA-backed bills intended to address California’s chronic housing shortage.
The bills will 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.
“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,” Newsom said in this news release. “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.”
Taking effect Jan. 1 to help boost California’s housing supply are:
Streamlining housing approvals
SB 330 by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, establishes the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, which will speed up housing construction by cutting the time it takes to obtain building permits. It also will limit fees on housing and bar local governments from reducing the number of homes that can be built.
“SB 330 will be extremely valuable in helping California address its lack of available housing,” CAA writes in a letter supporting the legislation. The bill, among other things, limits cities and counties’ ability to downzone and establish housing construction moratoriums. The bill also streamlines the permitting process for new developments.
AB 1485 by Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, will build on existing environmental streamlining law and provide financial incentives to encourage moderate-income housing production.
“AB 1485 would provide valuable incentives to make housing more
affordable, especially for our “missing middle” moderate income earners,” CAA writes in support letter.
Accessory dwelling units
AB 68 by Assemblyman Philip Ting, D-San Francisco, reduces barriers to the approval and construction of accessory dwelling units, also known as granny flats. The law will increase production of these low-cost, energy-efficient units and add to California’s affordable housing supply.
AB 881 by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, removes impediments to ADU construction by restricting local jurisdictions’ permitting criteria. The law clarifies that ADUs must receive streamlined approval if constructed in existing garages, and it eliminates the ability of local agencies to require owner-occupancy for five years.
SB 13 by Sen. Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, creates a tiered fee structure for ADUs that’s more fairly based on their size and location. The law also lowers the application approval timeframe, creates an avenue to get unpermitted ADUs up to code, and enhances an enforcement mechanism so the state can ensure that localities follow ADU statute.
AB 671 by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, 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 by Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, requires the Department of General Services to create a database of state excess properties and local lands available for residential development.
AB 1255 by Assemblyman Robert Rivas, D-Hollister, requires cities and counties to report to the state an inventory of its surplus lands in urbanized areas. The law then requires the state to include this information in a digitized inventory of state surplus land sites.
AB 1486 by Assemblyman Philip Ting, D-San Francisco, strengthens provisions in existing law that will guarantee affordable housing developers are given priority to purchase surplus land from local governments and agencies. It also requires the state Department of Housing and Community Development to establish a database of surplus lands, as specified.
AB 960 by Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, D-San Diego, increases options for the state’s most needy families with children while improving the effectiveness of CalWORKS’ homelessness intervention program. The law, among other things, authorizes a county to approve additional days of temporary shelter assistance if additional days are necessary to prevent homelessness.
AB 139 by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, requires local government housing plans to better identify their number of individuals and families facing homelessness. It will implement a more targeted transition strategy for permanent housing.
SB 751 by Sen. Susan Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, creates the San Gabriel Valley Regional Housing Trust to finance affordable housing projects for homeless and low-income populations and address the homelessness crisis in the region.
AB 1763 by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, gives 100 percent affordable housing developments an enhanced density bonus to encourage development, thus increasing the state’s affordable housing stock.
AB 587 by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, provides a narrow exemption for affordable housing organizations to sell deed-restricted land to eligible low-income homeowners.
AB 1483 by Assemblyman Tim Grayson, D-Concord, requires local jurisdictions 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. In a support letter, CAA writes that Grayson’s legislation “would help bring greater transparency to impact fees and other development-related requirements for prospective developers across the state.”