CSAC Bulletin Article

Feedback Needed – Housing and Land Use Bills  

April 9, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the California State Legislature adjourned for an emergency recess in mid-March in an effort to help flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19. The Legislature planned to recess until April 13; however, that date was recently extended to May 4. It is unclear whether the Governor’s stay at home order will be lifted by May 4 or whether the Legislature intends to reconvene for session remotely. The Legislature may have to make additional changes to its operations in order to continue to conduct legislative business during the current session.

CSAC has remained engaged with legislative staff and local government partners regarding housing and land use measures. While we are unsure how many measures will continue to move in the current session and are aware of the competing demands on counties’ time, we are seeking feedback on the bills below. Please send any feedback to Marina Espinoza at mespinoza@counties.org by Thursday, April 23.

AB 2580 (Eggman) – Streamlined Conversion of Hotels and Motels

  • Authorizes a development proponent to submit an application for a development for the conversion of a motel, hotel, or commercial use into multifamily housing units to be subject to a streamlined, ministerial approval process, if at least 20 percent of the proposed housing units are set aside for low or moderate income households.
  • Requires a local government to notify the development proponent in writing if the local government determines that the development conflicts with any objective standards within 30 days of the application being submitted; otherwise, the development would be deemed to comply with those standards.
  • Restricts a local government’s authority to impose automobile parking standards for a development subject to these provisions and would prohibit imposition of parking standards for a project located within specified areas.
  • Prohibits a local government from imposing any standard requiring a minimum or maximum unit size or any density restriction on a development subject to these provisions.

AB 3107 (Bloom) — Streamlined Housing in Commercial Zones

  • Requires that a housing development in which at least 20 percent of the units are affordable to lower income households to be an allowable use on a site designated in any element of the general plan for commercial uses.

AB 3153 (R. Rivas) – Development Exemption from Minimum Parking Requirements

  • Requires a local jurisdiction to provide, if requested, an eligible applicant for a residential development with a parking credit that exempts the project from minimum parking requirements based on the number of nonrequired bicycle parking spaces or car-sharing spaces provided, subject to certain conditions.

AB 3155 (R. Rivas) – Small Lot Subdivisions

  • Authorizes a development proponent to submit an application for the construction of a small lot subdivision, as defined, that meets specified criteria.
  • Requires a small lot subdivision to be located on a parcel zoned for multifamily residential use and consist of individual housing units that comply with existing height, floor area, and setback requirements applicable to the presubdivided parcel.
  • Prohibits the total number of units created by the small lot subdivision from exceeding the allowable residential density permitted by the existing general plan and zoning designations for the presubdivided parcel.
  • Requires the small lot subdivision to comply with any local inclusionary housing ordinance and requires 50% of the units constructed pursuant to these provisions to be reserved for first-time homebuyers for a period of at least 90 days.
  • Prohibits a local agency from imposing specified requirements on a small lot subdivision parcel created pursuant to these provisions, including setback requirements within a subdivided parcel, minimum requirements on the size of a subdivided parcel, and parking requirements beyond those required for the presubdivided parcel.
  • Exempts a housing development containing 10 or fewer units from specified objective planning standards described above.
  • Allows a development that is subject to the streamlined, ministerial approval process to involve a subdivision of a parcel if the development is consistent with all objective subdivision standards in the local subdivision ordinance and the development is a single project of 10 or fewer units, as specified.
  • Waives any applicable hearing requirements and requires a local agency to ministerially review and approve an application to subdivide 10 lots or fewer.
  • Requires a local agency to issue a building permit for a subdivision if the applicant for the permit has received a tentative map approval or parcel map approval for a project and the applicant submits proof, to the satisfaction of the local agency, that a specified covenant and agreement has been recorded.
  • Requires that the local agency issue the building permit on the condition that a certificate of occupancy for the building will not be issued until the final map is recorded.

SB 902 (Wiener) – Housing Upzoning

  • Provides that a neighborhood multifamily project is a use by right in zones where residential uses are permitted if the project is not located in a very high fire severity zone, does not demolish sound rental housing or housing that has been placed on a national or state historic register, follows specified local objective criteria, and meets specified density requirements.
  • Defines “use by right” to mean that the local government’s review of the housing development may not require a conditional use permit, planned unit development permit, or other discretionary local government review or approval that would constitute a project for purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act.
  • Authorizes a local government to pass an ordinance to zone any parcel for up to 10 units of residential density per parcel, at a height specified by the local government in the ordinance, if the parcel is located in a transit-rich area, a jobs-rich area, or an urban infill site.
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