CSAC Bulletin Article

CSAC Engages on Land Use and Housing Legislation

May 24, 2018

As California’s housing affordability crisis shows few signs of relenting, the Legislature continues to focus on housing and land use legislation. CSAC is engaging on several bills on behalf of counties, many of which are currently on the Senate and Assembly appropriations committee suspense files.

Regional Housing Needs

Two major bills are moving forward that would make significant changes to the way planed housing growth allocations are made to cities and counties. For general background on the Regional Housing Needs Assessment/Allocation process (RHNA), see CSAC’s overview from the Bulletin. AB 1771 (Bloom) would embed fair housing criteria in the allocation of housing needs between jurisdictions and create a new appeal opportunity for certain housing organizations, while SB 828 (Wiener) would reshape the RHNA process, including by “rolling forward” past planning allocations when units weren’t constructed. CSAC’s concerns letter on the latter bill is available here.

General Plan and Zoning

In its current form, AB 3194 (Daly) would essentially allow developers to build projects that are consistent with the highest intensity land use allowed in the general plan, even if that is beyond what’s permitted by the underlying zoning. The proponents contend that local governments are designating areas for higher-density housing in their general plans, but not updating the zoning in order to circumvent the Housing Accountability Act.

CSAC and our coalition partners are opposed to the bill working on amendments that address the sponsor’s concerns, will preventing unintended consequences, including de facto “upzonings” of rural areas that are designated for limited residential uses.

Accessory Dwelling Units

CSAC is opposed to three bills that would reopen the state’s accessory dwelling unit laws only two years after they were substantially revised in 2016. Many counties that have already adopted ordinances to increase local opportunity for building these much-needed second residential units would have to reopen their zoning codes once again. Among the provisions of concern included in one or more of the three bills- AB 2890 (Ting), SB 831 (Wieckowski) or SB 1469 (Skinner)- are prohibitions on using parcel size as a screening criteria for where ADUs are acceptable, limitations or outright prohibitions on impact fees, and unreasonably short time-frames for review and approval of ADU applications.  

A full report of priority bills being tracked by the Housing, Land Use and Transportation Policy team is available on the CSAC website here.

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