CSAC Bulletin Article

Housing and Transportation Bills Advance from Appropriations Committees

August 27, 2021

The Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees held their Suspense File hearings yesterday, determining which bills with high costs attached to them would move out of the committees and onto the Senate and Assembly floors. Below are brief summaries of the actions the committees took on several housing, land use and transportation bills.

AB 215 (Chiu)– Housing Element Violations: Would increase the Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HCD) enforcement authority for local agency violations of specified housing laws.

CSAC held an “oppose” position on a previous version of this bill, which would have created a new mid-cycle regional housing needs progress determination process with significant costs for both HCD and local agencies. CSAC was successful in securing amendments to remove the mid-cycle review, as well as a mandatory requirement for agencies subject to that mid-cycle review to adopt policies to achieve HCD’s currently incentive-based “prohousing policy” designation.

CSAC has new concerns with the most recent amendments, specifically the provisions creating a new, three-year statute of limitations for any action brought pursuant to the enforcement process created under AB 72 and the provision authorizing HCD to appoint or contract with outside counsel to represent the department when the Attorney General declines to represent HCD in an AB 72 enforcement process.

AB 215 moved from the Senate Appropriations Committee to the Senate Floor.

AB 602 (Grayson) – Impact Fee Nexus Study: Would require HCD to create an impact fee nexus study template for use by local jurisdictions by January 1, 2024. Among other changes, the bill would also impose new requirements on local agencies regarding the preparation of impact fee nexus studies.

CSAC holds an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure. The bill would make significant changes to laws governing local development impact fee programs and create new state and local costs. Specifically, we have concerns with the provision requiring HCD to develop of a nexus fee template and a new requirement related to capital improvement planning for counties with populations of at least 250,000.

AB 602 moved from the Senate Appropriations Committee to the Senate Floor with clarifying amendments that do not address CSAC’s remaining issues.

AB 838 (Friedman) – State Housing Law and Code Enforcement: Would make several changes to the local building code enforcement processes and procedures.

CSAC holds an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure. While CSAC and other local government groups worked with the author and the sponsors to successfully resolve our preliminary concerns with the bill as introduced, recent amendments would limit counties’ ability to recover costs for building, zoning, and safety inspections. We have offered the author amendments that would remove our opposition.

This bill moved from the Senate Appropriations Committee to the Senate Floor.

AB 989 (Gabriel) – Office of Housing Appeals: Would, until January 1, 2029, establish an Office of Housing Appeals within HCD and authorize a developer to appeal a local agency’s decision that resulted in the denial of a specified housing development project or subjected the project to conditions in violation of the Housing Accountability Act.

CSAC holds an “oppose” position on this measure. CSAC and other local government groups have successfully negotiated significant changes to the Housing Accountability Act (HAA) in recent years, including significant fines for local governments that deny housing projects in bad faith. Rather than relying on the HAA and other laws ensuring that local agencies comply with state housing law, AB 989 creates a new bureaucracy within state government and an administrative appeals process that will prove costly for local agencies and project proponents.

AB 989 moved from the Senate Appropriations Committee to the Senate Floor.

AB 1035 (Salas) – Recycled Materials Standards: Would require local agencies to apply standard specifications that allow for the use of recycled materials at or above the level allowed in the California Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans) most recently published standard specifications in streets and highways when feasible and cost effective.

CSAC holds an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure. CSAC anticipates the author will accept amendments requested by Caltrans that would make the bill apply only to Caltrans’ current (2018) specifications, rather than also applying to any future specifications. This change would allow CSAC to move to a neutral position.

AB 1035 moved from the Senate Appropriations Committee to the Senate Floor.

AB 1423 (Daly) – Multifamily Housing Programs: Would authorize a recipient of HCD affordable housing loan funds under the multifamily housing program to access funds more quickly for construction financing.

CSAC holds a “support” position on this measure. AB 1423 would aid in the development of much-needed affordable housing by significantly reducing construction period interest expenses and the overall cost of development.

AB 1423 moved from the Senate Appropriations Committee to the Senate Floor.

SB 477 (Wiener) – Annual Progress Reports: Would increase reporting requirements to the annual progress report that cities and counties are required to submit to the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) each year.

CSAC holds an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure. We have concerns with the increased workload from the bill would lead to and have requested amendments to exempt counties outside Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) from additional reporting, remove CEQA-related reporting, and eliminate duplicative and overly-detailed reporting requirements.

SB 477 moved out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee with committee amendments to reduce the scope of the bill. CSAC will review these amendments and reassess our position. This bill moved to the Assembly Floor.

SCA 2 (Allen and Wiener) – Public Housing Projects: Would repeal Article XXXIV of the California Constitution upon approval of the statewide electorate. Article XXXIV requires a vote of the electorate when a local government seeks to build or fund affordable housing and was designed to impede the construction of healthy and affordable homes for Californians at all income levels.

CSAC holds a “support” position on this measure. Repealing Article XXXIV would not only remove this discriminatory provision from the Constitution. It would also eliminate a stumbling block that has frustrated efforts by counties to provide homes for lower-income residents and people experiencing serious mental illness who are homeless.

SCA 2 moved from the Senate Appropriations Committee to the Senate Floor.

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