Tool for enforcing pro-housing law passes Senate, close to final approval

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Final legislative approval appears imminent for a bill that would allow groups like CAA to sue local governments when they deny housing projects in violation of state law.

AB 2584 by Assemblyman Tom Daly, D-Anaheim, is on the Assembly floor today, where lawmakers are considering amendments made in the Senate. The upper house of the state Legislature passed the bill Monday on a 36-0 vote, with three abstentions. When the Assembly finishes its work, the bill is expected to reach the governor’s desk.

Assemblyman Tom Daly

Assemblyman Tom Daly

The legislation is among one of four housing-production bills sponsored by the California Apartment Association this year.

The bill would expand enforcement of the Housing Accountability Act. For nearly 30 years, the HAA has been a tool to ensure that new housing gets built. Under the act, local governments must follow certain legal mandates before denying a housing development application. Since its inception, 13 bills were signed into law to strengthen its provisions and add more clarity.

AB 2584 would allow groups that represent tenants or housing providers — such as CAA — to bring a legal action when a local government denies housing projects in violation of the HAA.

At present, only the applicant of a proposed housing project or potential future tenants may bring legal action if a local government breaks the act.

“One of the most significant barriers to the construction of new affordable housing is unjustified local resistance from NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) groups,” CAA says in a letter supporting the bill. “AB 2584 applies appropriate pressure on local governments and citizens who attempt to stop the projects with no good cause.”

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