CSAC Bulletin Article

CSAC Takes Positions on Housing and Land Use Measures

May 15, 2020

The Legislature reconvened for legislative session earlier this month after adjourning for an emergency recess in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March. Both houses have attempted to cut back on the number of bills moving this year. To meet legislative deadlines, all bills will be single-referred as they move through the house in which they were introduced. This means bills that fall under the purview of more than one policy committee, and would have otherwise been referred to each committee with jurisdiction over it, will only be heard by one policy committee before moving to a fiscal committee or to the Floor.

CSAC has submitted position letters on a number of Assembly bills and will begin submitting letters on Senate bills as they are scheduled to be heard in Senate policy committees this month. We will continue to work with committees, authors’ offices, and local government partners on measures that impact counties. Below is a list of housing and land use bills that CSAC has taken positions on to date. 

AB 2345 (Gonzalez and Chiu) – Density Bonus Law Waivers and Concessions: Would increase the maximum density bonus as well as the number of concessions an affordable housing project can receive. 

CSAC holds an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure, as it would increase the density bonus, waivers and concessions to developers using Density Bonus Law without requiring a commensurate level of affordability in return. CSAC is supportive of amendments proposed to the author that would maintain the higher benefits for 100% affordable projects in current law—not to mention county ordinances that already provide enhanced density bonuses for affordable projects—and add a new tier for other projects with higher inclusionary units. Further, CSAC is also supportive of maintaining the maximum number of required concessions at 4.

AB 2580 (Eggman) – Streamlined Conversion of Hotels and Motels: Would authorize for the conversion of a motel, hotel, or commercial use into multifamily housing units to be subject to a streamlined approval process if at least 20 percent of the units are affordable.

CSAC holds a “support in concept” position on this measure. CSAC believes that many hotel and motel properties will present excellent opportunities for conversion to affordable and supportive housing and has proposed amendments to the author that would ensure that appropriate projects are fast-tracked without unintended consequences.

AB 3040 (Chiu) – Regional Housing Need Assessment (RHNA): Would authorize a city or county to include in its inventory of land suitable for residential development specified sites that contain an existing single-family unit, but that the city or county authorizes to contain four units as a use by right and would allow these units to count toward a jurisdiction’s RHNA credit.

CSAC holds a “support in concept” position on this measure. By providing greater certainty as related to RHNA compliance, this bill helps to encourage infill zoning in these neighborhoods. CSAC will be working with the author on language also allowing the rezoning to occur as part of housing element implementation. This flexibility would encourage local governments who are further along in their sixth cycle update process to use these provisions, as they might not otherwise have sufficient time to complete the rezoning before the housing element certification date.

AB 3107 (Bloom and Ting) – Housing in Sites Designated for Commercial Uses: Would, until January 1, 2030, mandate that a housing development in which at least 20% of the units have an affordable housing cost or affordable rent for low-income households be an authorized use on a site designated in any element of the general plan for commercial uses.

CSAC holds a “concerns” position on this measure. While CSAC is supportive of the bill’s goal to increase the number of affordable housing units in commercial corridors near transit and jobs centers, CSAC requests limiting the bill’s applicability to sites not adjacent to industrial uses and that it only apply to office or retail uses in commercial zones. CSAC also requests that AB 3107 be amended to use the zoning code rather than any element in the General Plan, as counties update their zoning code on much more regular intervals. CSAC also requests that AB 3107 be amended to allow counties to count commercial sites where AB 3107 would apply toward their regional housing needs allocation planning requirement irrespective of whether the current zoning allows for residential uses.

AB 3155 (R. Rivas) – Subdivision Map Act: Would apply SB 35 streamlining provisions to qualifying subdivision projects, as well as create a ministerial process for approval of subdivisions of up to ten lots in the Subdivision Map Act.

CSAC holds a “concerns” position on this measure. CSAC is concerned that overlaying the new ministerial map provisions with the SB 35 streamlining process could create unintended consequences that could hinder the ability of counties to ensure compliance with local standards and completion of necessary improvements. Moreover, since AB 3155’s map act provisions are not limited to qualifying infill sites in urbanized areas, we want to ensure that appropriate local standards are already in place and can be enforced through this new ministerial process, especially since there is no sunset date for these provisions.

AB 3352 (Friedman) – State Housing Law: Would, beginning July 1, 2021, require a city or county that receives a complaint of a substandard building or a lead hazard violation to inspect the building, portion of the building intended for human occupancy, or premises of the building, cite the lead hazard violations or the building, portion of the building intended for human occupancy, or premises on which the building is located as being substandard.

CSAC holds an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure. While CSAC supports the goal of ensuring that tenants have safe and healthy housing consistent with code requirements, we are concerned with some of the limitations the bill would place on local agency discretion in responding to code complaints. The author’s office has indicated their willingness to resolve these issues.

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