Housing Land Use and Transportation Bills
September 2, 2016
Land Use and Housing Bills
In addition to the failure of Governor Brown’s “by-right” housing proposal, which had been linked with $400 million in funding for affordable housing, the housing and land use bills that CSAC weighed in on in 2016 met mixed fates at the end of the two-year session. While bills aimed at streamlining and creating incentives for various types housing production were passed, bills that would have increased funding to subsidize the development of affordable homes stalled.
The legislature passed three bills related to second residential units. CSAC removed its opposition to SB 1069 (Wieckowski) when the author extended previously unrealistic timeframes for issuing permits for accessory dwelling units, although the bill still includes overly broad prohibitions on local parking requirements. CSAC moved to support AB 2299 (Bloom) upon the removal of a requirement that every city and county adopt an accessory dwelling unit ordinance. The bill also provides a bright line rule that local ordinances are null and void if they conflict with the required standards state law. Finally, the Legislature also passed AB 2406 (Thurmond), which creates a voluntary statutory framework for approving “junior second units” within existing homes.
Affordable Housing Incentives
On the affordable housing front, the legislature sent the Governor AB 2501 (Bloom), which aims to streamline the development of housing projects with affordable units eligible for the state’s density bonus law. CSAC had previously removed its opposition to this measure. AB 1934 (Santiago) was also passed. This bill would create a new program similar to density bonus, whereby local agencies would have to offer mutually-agreeable incentives or concessions for commercial developers that include affordable housing in a mixed use project or financially support an affordable housing development off-site. CSAC removed its opposition when a sunset clause was added to
Housing Development Subsidies
Bills to provide additional funding for affordable housing projects fared poorly at the end of session. CSAC-supported AB 2817 (Chiu), which would increase affordable housing tax credits, failed passage in the Senate Appropriations Committee and SB 879, Senator Beall’s proposal to authorize the issuance of $3 billion in affordable housing bonds—also supported by CSAC—stalled on the Assembly floor. One small bright spot was AB 723 (Chiu), which will ensure that non-entitlement counties (those with populations less than 200,000 in the unincorporated area) are eligible to apply for the upcoming round of Community Development Block Grant funding, even if prior-year grant awards are less than halfway expended.