CSAC Bulletin Article

Key Housing and Land Use Bills Introduced on First Day of 2021-22 Legislative Session 

December 10, 2020

The Legislature was sworn in for its 2021-22 legislative session earlier this week and members introduced several housing and land use bills. Many of the bills had been included in the Senate’s housing packing last year, but either failed to pass in committees or ran out of time for concurrence votes on last night of session. Another subset of bills deals with emergency relief for tenants impacted by COVID-19. With key provisions of AB 3088 (Chiu, 2020) expiring as of January 31, 2020, the Legislature faces a quick timeline to extend pandemic-related tenant protections.

Additional bills of interest include a constitutional amendment to waive local voter approval requirements when cities or counties invest in affordable housing development, a bond measure focused on deeply-affordable homes for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and a reintroduction of a bill included in last year’s Assembly package on residential impact fees.

CSAC will be reviewing each of these measures closely in the coming weeks and encourages early feedback from counties. Below is an overview of the key housing and land use bills introduced on the first day of session.

Land Use and Zoning

SB 6 (Caballero) – Housing in Sites Designated for Commercial Uses: Would allow specified housing developments on qualifying commercially-zoned sites, regardless of current local zoning. CSAC took a “concerns” position on last year’s version of this bill, SB 1385 (Caballero, 2020).

SB 7 (Atkins) – CEQA Relief for Large Residential Projects: Would extend the AB 900 environmental leadership program, which allows for streamlined judicial review of CEQA challenges to qualifying projects to 2025 and lower the current $100 million project threshold to $15 million. Details about the existing program are available here. Last year’s version of SB 7 was SB 995 (Atkins, 2020).

SB 9 (Atkins) – Small-scale neighborhood infill: Would create 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 a nearly identical bill last year, SB 1120 (Atkins, 2020). SB 9 includes new provisions related to the California Coastal Act.

SB 10 (Wiener) – Streamlined Zoning for Small Multifamily Projects: Would allow a streamlined rezoning process on qualifying infill sites to allow up to 10 units without CEQA review. The infill definition used in the bill means this program will have limited applicability to county unincorporated areas. Last year’s version of SB 10 was SB 902 (Wiener).

Affordable Housing – State and Local Funding

SB 5 (Atkins) – Housing Bond: States the intent of the Legislature to authorize the issuance of bonds and to finance housing-related programs that serve the homeless and extremely low income and very low income Californians.

SCA 2 (Allen) – Public Housing Projects: Would repeal Article XXXIV of the California Constitution, which currently requires a majority vote by the people if a local government seeks to build or fund affordable housing. CSAC supported a prior version of this measure in 2019: SCA 1 (Allen and Wiener).

Emergency Relief for Tenants

AB 15 (Chiu) – Tenant Stabilization Act of 2021: Would extend the definition of “COVID-19 rental debt” included in the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 (AB 3088, Chiu) as unpaid rent or any other unpaid financial obligation of a tenant that was due between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021. AB 15 would also extend the repeal date of the act to January 1, 2026 and make other conforming changes to align with the extended dates.

AB 16 (Chiu) – Tenant, Small Landlord, and Affordable Housing Provider Stabilization Act of 2021: Would state the intent of the Legislature to enact the Tenant, Small Landlord, and Affordable Housing Provider Stabilization Act of 2021 to:

  • Address the long-term financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on renters, small landlords, and affordable housing providers
  • Ensure ongoing housing stability for tenants at risk of eviction
  • Stabilize rental properties at risk of foreclosure.

SB 3 (Caballero) – COVID-19 Tenancy: Would extend the covered time period and transition time for purposes of the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020 (AB 3088, Chiu) to March 31, 2021.

SB 64 (Leyva) – COVID-19 Emergency Relief for Mobilehome Park Residents: Would prohibit the management of a mobilehome park from terminating or attempting to terminate the tenancy of a homeowner or resident impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic on the grounds of failure of the homeowner or resident to comply with a reasonable rule or regulation of the park that is part of the rental agreement or failure to pay rent, utility charges, or reasonable incidental service charges during a declared state of emergency or local emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and during a 120-day time period after the state of emergency or local emergency is terminated, unless necessary to protect the public health or safety.

Residential Impact Fees

AB 59 (Gabriel) – Mitigation Fee Act Notices and Timeline: Would prohibit a local agency, when defending a protest or action filed for a fee or service charge, or for fees for specified public facilities, from using as evidence, or relying on in any way, data not made available to the public pursuant to the bill’s provisions. The bill would also increase, for fees and service charges and for fees for specified public facilities, the time for mailing the notice of the time and place of the public meeting to at least 45 days before the meeting. Last year’s version of AB 59 was AB 3147 (Gabriel).

CSAC will continue to advance the policy principles adopted by the Board of Directors on residential impact fees, while opposing arbitrary fee caps or waivers and unreasonably burdensome reporting requirements.

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