CSAC Bulletin Article

Housing, Land Use & Transportation Updates

February 7, 2019

Feedback Needed on Housing Proposals

California legislators have demonstrated their continued efforts to alleviate the housing crisis by proposing bills intended to increase the affordable housing supply across the state. CSAC is already engaging the Administration and Legislators on these proposals and is interested in comments and concerns from counties.

State-Imposed Zoning Standards

Three Senators have introduced legislation to promote affordable housing near transit. Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 50 would require local governments to grant developers exemptions from local zoning restrictions if they build housing in job-rich or transit-rich areas, many of which would be defined through state regulatory process. While the bill takes a slightly different approach in disadvantaged communities, it is very similar to last year’s SB 827, which did not pass out of its first policy committee and which CSAC opposed.

Senators McGuire and Beall have also introduced SB 4, which states the Legislature’s intent to limit restrictive local land use policies to encourage the development of affordable housing near transit. Proposed amendments to the bill aim to streamline construction of missing middles housing (duplexes and fourplexes), as well as provide for increased density through waiver of local zoning standards near transit. The draft bill also includes a troubling link with housing production as compared to the Regional Housing Needs Assessments and fee waivers.

CSAC is eager to hear feedback from counties on both bills.


Accessory Dwelling Units

State legislators are also revisiting accessory dwelling units (ADUs) this legislative session. The Assembly Committees on Housing and Community Development and Local Government held a joint informational hearing to examine ADU law and policy issues in the state. CSAC expressed interest in seeing the following issues addressed in any discussion around ADUs this year:

  • Allowing local governments to having full discretion over ADU construction in areas with natural hazards, including high fire hazard severity zones,
  • Keeping setback requirements under the discretion of local governments where appropriate, including fire hazard areas,
  • Allowing for parcel size limits when related to land area needed to provide for safe use of septic systems and wells, and
  • Opposing arbitrary limitations on local government fees for infrastructure needed to support ADUs and other housing developments.

Last year, CSAC had an “oppose unless amended” position on AB 2890 (Ting), which would have significantly amended statewide ADU standards that apply to locally-adopted ordinances. CSAC looks forward to continuing to engage in conversations on ADUs with the legislature.  


Governor’s Budget

Finally, the Governor’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 also makes housing a priority. Governor Newsom has proposed to allocate $250 million to counties and cities for housing production and $500 million in incentives for local governments to meet housing production goals. The Governor’s proposed budget also increases funding to address homelessness by $500 million.

CSAC has begun to have discussions with the Administration on these proposals to determine details and potential implications to counties. Stay tuned for more information from us on housing legislation in the coming weeks.

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