CSAC Bulletin Article

Housing and Land Use Bills Continue to Advance

July 26, 2018

CSAC continues to engage on several bills related to housing and land use planning. Updates on some of the key legislation still moving forward this year are included below.

Regional Housing Needs Legislation

Two bills that seek to amend the process for identifying regional housing needs and allocating housing planning requirements among local jurisdictions continue to move forward. CSAC and our local government partners secured amendments to SB 828 (Wiener), thereby removing provisions that made further amendments to the housing element process. The bill’s requirements to identify 25 percent more sites than required by the jurisdiction’s RHNA allocation and an unworkable prohibition on where counties could plan for housing were removed at the request of the Assembly Local Government Committee.

CSAC had argued that 125 percent requirement was unnecessary in light of legislation passed last year with the goal of ensuring that only the most easily developable sites can be included in the inventory (AB 1397, Low) and that there is always an adequate supply of sites that to accommodate development affordable at each income level (SB 166, Skinner).

CSAC has not opposed other changes that SB 828 and AB 1771 (Bloom) would make to the RHNA statute. SB 828 (text available here) codifies come of the current practices of the Department of Housing and Community Development, especially in regards to consideration of vacancy rates at rent burdens in determining the amount of new housing that should be accommodated by local land use plans, while AB 1771 adds guardrails around appeals processes that some cities have used to reduce their housing planning obligations.

See CSAC’s discussion of how vacancy rates may affect housing planning requirements here.

Both bills also seek to direct more development to wealthier urban areas with better access to jobs and transit. This aligns with state climate change policies and should reduce pressure for sprawl-style development via unreasonably high RHNA allocations to less-urban unincorporated areas. The two bills differ in their approaches to this issue, and regional governments have rightfully pointed out that the legislation must address potential conflicts in cases where additional housing development in “higher-opportunity” communities doesn’t align with goals to reduce driving.

CSAC will be removing our opposition to SB 828 in light of the recent amendments but will continue to monitor both bills as they move forward.

Accessory Dwelling Units

The legislative year began with three bills that would all amend the same provisions of state law that governs local ordinances related to accessory dwelling units, but all in slightly different ways. CSAC opposed all three bills in light of the fact that the state ADU law was completely revised by two bills that only went into effect in 2017. SB 831 (Wieckowski) was held in the Assembly Local Government Committee and SB 1469 (Skinner) was held on suspense in the Senate Appropriations Committee. CSAC has outlined our remaining concerns with the remaining ADU overhaul bill, AB 2890 (Ting). In a meeting with the author’s office, staff indicated that they were open to addressing some, but not all, of our issues. CSAC and some of our local government partners have offered amendments that would allow us to remove opposition. The bill represents a significant departure from the changes to ADU law effective in 2017.

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