CSAC Bulletin Article

Housing, Transportation and Tribal Gaming Bill Roundup

September 3, 2020

Despite efforts to cut-back on bills as a result of the shortened process that the Legislature adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, legislators moved several bills of interest to counties in the housing and land use space. In an attempt to address the state’s housing shortage, Senate democrats developed a package of housing bills, which was accompanied by a similar suite of high-profile housing bills from the Assembly.

While a handful of housing measures were passed, none of the bills initially included in the Senate’s package made it to the Governor’s desk due to policy issues raised as they were considered by committees and, in a few cases, as a result of challenges with meeting the deadline for bills to pass on the last night of session.

In addition to housing and land use bills, CSAC has been tracking a handful of transportation and tribal gaming bills—some of which evolved near the end of the legislative session. Below is a status update on key bills tracked by the Housing, Land Use and Transportation team.

Housing and Land Use Bills

AB 168 (Aguiar-Curry): Tribal Consultations and SB 35 Streamlined Housing Applications.

AB 168 would create a pre-consultation process with Native American tribes when development proponents intend to submit a streamlined housing application pursuant to SB 35 (Wiener, 2017). Specifically, the bill:

  • Requires the effected local government to engage in a scoping consultation regarding the proposed project with any tribe traditionally and culturally affiliated with the geographic area of the proposed development.
  • Authorizes a developer to submit an SB 35 application following the conclusion of scoping consultation if the parties find that no potential TCR would be affected by the proposed development.
  • Prohibits a developer from being eligible for SB 35 streamlining if, after concluding the scoping consultation, the parties find that a potential TCR could be affected by the proposed development and an enforceable agreement is not documented between the tribe and the local government regarding measures, methods, and conditions for TCR treatment.
  • Requires local governments to include information on the jurisdiction’s progress in adopting or amending its general plan or local open-space element in compliance with obligations to consult with California Native American tribes, and to identify and protect, preserve, and mitigate impacts to specified places, features, and objects pursuant to the law.

CSAC did not take a position on the bill, which was approved by both houses of the Legislature and will be moving to the Governor’s desk for his action.

AB 725 (Wicks): Zoning for Medium-Density Development.

AB 725 would require a metropolitan jurisdiction, excluding county unincorporated areas, to accommodate a portion of its regional housing needs allocation (RHNA) as follows:

  • At least 25 percent of moderate income RHNA to sites allowing at least 4 units of housing, but no more than 100 units per acre of housing.
  • At least 25 percent of above-moderate income RHNA to sites with zoning that allows at least 4 units of housing.

CSAC worked with the author’s office to secure amendments in 2019 that exclude unincorporated areas from the bill. AB 725 was approved by both houses of the Legislature and will be moving to the Governor’s desk for his action.

AB 1561 (C. Garcia): Housing Element and Entitlement Extensions.

AB 1561 would require a local government’s housing element to include an analysis of governmental constraints upon housing for individuals identified under the Unruh Civil Rights Act to be members of a protected class.

The bill was recently amended to include most of the housing entitlement provisions included in SB 281 (Wiener). Specifically, the bill would extend by 18 months the time frame for the expiration, effectuation, or utilization of a housing entitlement for any housing entitlement, as defined, that was issued prior to, and was in effect on, March 4, 2020, and will expire prior to December 31, 2021.

AB 1561 was approved by both houses of the Legislature and will be moving to the Governor’s desk for his action.

SB 281 (Wiener): Extension of Permits and Entitlements.

SB 281 would have extended by 18-months, the period for the expiration, effectuation, or utilization of specified housing permits and entitlements that were issued before, and were in effect on, March 4, 2020.

CSAC, UCC, and RCRC submitted a “support” position on this measure. We worked closely with the author’s office and committee staff to finalize the types of permits and entitlements ultimately included in the measure, as well as clarifying the interaction with local extensions that have already been granted.

SB 281 was referred to the Assembly Local Government Committee, but it was not set for a hearing. As previously noted, the bill’s entitlement extension provisions were amended into AB 1561.

SB 1120 (Atkins): By-right Duplexes and Lot Splits in Single Family Neighborhoods.

SB 1120 would have created a streamlined process allowing duplexes in single family neighborhoods, as well as allowing lot splits of single-family residential lots and the conversion of existing single-family buildings to duplexes.

CSAC took a “support if amended” position on this measure. Unfortunately, the author did not accept our final proposed amendments to restrict the use of the bill in high fire hazard severity zones, to preclude the use of lot-split provisions on lots created by a parcel map, and to require a lot split be conditioned on issuance of certificate of occupancy for the new dwelling unit.

The bill passed the Assembly, but time ran out before the Senate could concur in the Assembly amendments.

SB 1385 (Caballero): Housing in Sites Designated for Commercial Uses.

SB 1385 would have allowed housing on qualifying commercially-zoned sites, regardless of current local zoning. The bill also would have allowed such projects to utilize the streamlined approval process from SB 35 (Wiener, 2017).

The bill failed passage in the Assembly Local Government Committee when the author declined to accept all of the amendments offered by the committee. The committee’s proposed amendments would have addressed the concerns identified in CSAC’s joint letter with UCC and RCRC.

That “concerns” letter listed the requested amendments that would have allowed CSAC and our partner county organizations to move into support. It also expressed support for the fundamental goal of SB 1385, which sought to provide opportunities for redevelopment of underutilized commercial sites, many of which are near transit and jobs centers.

AB 434 (Daly): Housing Financing Programs: uniform procedures.

AB 434 would streamline affordable housing grant programs under the Department of Housing and Community Development by aligning application requirements and procedures.

CSAC, UCC, RCRC, the League of California Cities, and APA submitted a “support” letter on this measure and will be requesting the Governor’s signature. By aligning procedures of the financing programs under the purview of HCD, AB 434 will help stretch the limited funding as far as possible and create additional homes for lower-income Californians.

The bill was approved by both houses of the Legislature and will be moving to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

AB 1279 (Bloom): Housing Development in High-opportunity Areas.

AB 1279 would have allowed certain qualifying housing developments “by-right” in designated high-opportunity communities with lower residential densities.

CSAC and UCC held a “oppose unless amended” position on this measure and would have liked to see amendments to it to more precisely define applicable areas and create a workable appeals process promoting local planning.

The author opted not to move the bill prior to the end of the legislative session after it was referred to the Senate Housing Committee.

AB 2345 (Gonzalez): Density Bonus Law Waivers and Concessions and Affordability Thresholds.

Would revise Density Bonus Law to increase the maximum allowable density and the number of concessions and incentives a developer can seek.

CSAC, APA, UCC, and the League of Cities initially held an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure, and we removed our opposition after the bill was amended to limit the number of incentives and concession and to include language exempting local governments with enhanced density bonus ordinances.

The bill was approved by both houses of the Legislature and will be moving to the Governor’s desk.

AB 3107 (Bloom and Ting): Housing in Sites Designated for Commercial Uses.

AB 3107 would have, until January 1, 2030, mandated that a housing development in which at least 20 percent of the units have an affordable housing cost or affordable rent for low-income households be an authorized use on a site designated in any element of the local agency’s zoning code for commercial uses if certain conditions apply.

CSAC and UCC submitted a “concerns” position on this measure. Counties are supportive of the goal of AB 3107, which is similar to SB 1385 (discussed above). The bill did not move out of the Senate Housing Committee.

AB 3040 (Chiu): Regional Housing Need Assessment.

AB 3040 would have authorized a city or county to include in its inventory of land suitable for residential development specified sites that contain an existing single-family unit, but that the city or county authorizes to contain four units as a use by right and would allow these units to count toward a jurisdiction’s RHNA credit.

CSAC, along with UCC, RCRC, and the League of California Cities submitted a “support” letter on this measure. Counties and cities across California have received, or expect to receive; significantly higher RHNA in the 6th housing element cycle. This bill would have given counties greater certainty that they could accommodate a portion of their moderate- and above-moderate income RHNA by upzoning to allow small multifamily projects in existing residential neighborhoods.

The bill was held in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

AB 3352 (Friedman): State Housing Law.

AB 3352 would have required a city or county that receives a complaint of a substandard building or a lead hazard violation to inspect the building, portion of the building intended for human occupancy, or premises of the building, cite the lead hazard violations or the building, portion of the building intended for human occupancy, or premises on which the building is located as being substandard.

CSAC, UCC, RCRC, and the League of Cities held an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure. While CSAC supports the goal of ensuring that tenants have safe and healthy housing consistent with code requirements, we were concerned with some of the limitations the bill would have placed on local agency discretion in responding to code complaints.

AB 3352 did not move out of the Senate Housing Committee. The authors office has indicated that they will continue to work with CSAC and others to address local government if the bill is reintroduced this year.

Transportation Bills

SB 288 (Wiener): CEQA exemptions for transportation-related projects.

SB 288 would exempt certain projects from CEQA requirements, provided that certain conditions are met. Specifically:

  • Transit prioritization projects
  • Projects that improve customer information and wayfinding for transit riders, bicyclists, or pedestrians
  • Projects by a public transit agency to construct or maintain infrastructure to charge or refuel zero-emission transit buses
  • Projects carried out by a city or county to reduce minimum parking requirements
  • Projects for pedestrian and bicycle facilities

The bill would require exempt projects to meet additional criteria, including that the lead agency certify that the projects will be carried out by a skilled and trained workforce.

The bill was approved by both houses of the Legislature and will be moving to the Governor’s desk for his action.

SB 1351 (Beall): Transportation Improvement Fee: revenue bonds.

SB 1351 would allow the State of California to bond against its share of transportation improvement fee (TIF) revenue from SB 1 (Beall, 2017), with a goal of delivering additional state highway projects and stimulating the economy.

CSAC worked closely with the author to ensure that this proposed use of TIF revenue will hold harmless local allocations of SB 1 Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account revenues. The bill was recently amended to limit the bonding authority to state highway projects included in the 2020 State Highway Operations and Protection Program and to cap bond principal at $5 billion.

SB 1351 was approved by both houses of the Legislature and will be moving to the Governor’s desk for his action.

Tribal Gaming Compacts

SB 869 (Dodd): SB-869 Tribal Gaming: compact ratification.

SB 869 would ratify separate tribal-state gaming compacts between the State of California and six tribes: the Ione Band of Miwok Indians, the Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California, the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, the Tolowa Dee-ni Nation, and the Tule River Indian Tribe of California.

This Bulletin article summarizes the key provisions of tribal-state gaming compacts between these six tribes and the Governor. Both houses of the Legislature voted to ratify the compacts.

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