CSAC Bulletin Article

New Laws Impacting Counties: Housing, Land Use & Transportation

Nov. 8, 2018

With Governor Brown signing over 1,000 bills into law this year, CSAC is publishing a series of articles to spotlight new laws that impact counties from each policy area. In this week’s final installment, the report from the Housing, Land Use and Transportation policy area provides information on new laws affecting housing, public works, building standards, and more.

The new laws listed below become effective January 1, 2019, unless otherwise noted.

Housing and Land Use

AB 1804 (Berman) CEQA Infill Exemption. Provides an exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for qualifying multifamily housing projects located in unincorporated areas until 2025. CSAC has pursued CEQA streamlining for infill housing in unincorporated areas for many years, so the Governor’s signature on AB 1804, especially after a similar bill failed in the Senate last year, was a significant victory for counties and Assembly Member Berman. The exemption created by AB 1804 will help counties expedite multifamily housing projects located in neighborhoods ranging from unincorporated islands in major metropolitan areas to rural downtowns in many smaller counties.

AB 2162 (Chiu) Supportive Housing Permitting. Requires that supportive housing be a use by right in zones where multifamily and mixed uses are permitted, including nonresidential zones permitting multifamily uses, if the proposed housing development meets local zoning and specified criteria related to the provision of on-site supportive services. Prohibits imposition of minimum parking requirements for units occupied by supportive housing residents if the development is located within one-half mile of a public transit stop.

AB 2219 (Ting) Third-Party Rent Payments. Allows third party rent payments, subject to various conditions. CSAC supported this bill, which should facilitate county or non-profit programs to “buy-down” rents for people at risk of losing their housing or as part of a rapid rehousing strategy.

AB 2263 (Friedman) Parking Requirements for Historic Buildings. Requires local agency to provide reductions in required parking for certain development projects in which a designated historical resource is being converted or adapted, unless otherwise required by local ordinance.

AB 2973 (Gray) Subdivision Map Extensions. Authorizes local governments in specified counties to further extend by up to 24 months the expiration date of any approved tentative map or vesting tentative map that was approved on or after January 1, 2006, and not later than July 11, 2013, and for which the expiration date has been previously extended pursuant to specified provisions, if the map relates to the construction of single or multifamily housing.

AB 3194 (Daly) Housing Accountability Act. Specifies that a proposed housing development project is not inconsistent with the applicable zoning standards and criteria, and prohibits a local government from requiring a rezoning, if the housing development project is consistent with the objective general plan standards and criteria but the zoning for the project site is inconsistent with the general plan.

SB 1202 (Stone) Mitigation Fee Act. Prohibits a local agency that is not in compliance with the annual reporting requirements for funds raised pursuant to the Mitigation Fee Act from requiring a deposit for an independent audit and instead requires the local agency to pay the cost of the audit.

Fair Housing and Regional Housing Needs

AB 686 (Santiago) Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. Requires public agencies to administer programs and activities relating to housing and community development, including the housing element, in a manner to affirmatively further fair housing, and to not take any action that is materially inconsistent with this obligation. Beginning in 2021, the bill requires cities and counties to incorporate an assessment of fair housing and strategies to affirmatively further fair housing in their housing element updates. CSAC and our local government partners secured amendments to delay the implementation date, ensure that enforcement mechanisms were not unreasonably tilted in favor of parties challenging a local government’s actions related to fair housing, and to reduce costs of developing the analysis.

AB 1771 (Bloom) Regional Housing Needs. Revises the objectives required to be addressed in the regional housing needs allocation plan and additionally requires the plan to include an objective to increase access to areas of high opportunity for lower-income residents, while avoiding displacement and affirmatively furthering fair housing.

SB 828 (Wiener) Regional Housing Needs. Prohibits the prior underproduction of housing in a city or county from the previous cycle and stable population numbers in a city or county from the previous cycle from being used as a justification for a determination or a reduction in the jurisdiction’s share of the regional housing need and requires the Department of Housing and Community Development to consider overcrowding in developing regional housing needs determinations. CSAC removed opposition after securing amendments that removed provisions to drastically increased requirements to identify sites adequate to meet the jurisdiction’s regional housing needs allocation.

Density Bonus

AB 2753 (Friedman) Parking and Density Increase. Upon request of an applicant, requires a city or county to provide a determination of density bonus and reduction in parking ratios for which the development is eligible and whether the applicant has provided adequate information to make a determination as to any incentives, concessions, or waivers or reductions development standards requested by the applicant.

AB 2797 (Bloom) California Coastal Act.  Requires that any density bonus, concessions, incentives, waivers or reductions of development standards, and parking ratios to which an applicant is entitled under the Density Bonus Law be permitted in a manner that is consistent with that law and the California Coastal Act of 1976.

SB 1227 (Skinner) Student Housing. Requires a density bonus to be provided to a developer that agrees to construct a housing development in which all units in the development will be used for students enrolled full-time at an accredited institution of higher education where 20% of the units are used for lower income students, among other affordability criteria.

Public Works

AB 2249 (Cooley) Uniform Public Construction Cost Accounting Act. Increases the statutory force account and bidding thresholds within the Uniform Public Construction Cost Accounting Act for the 40 counties that have opted to become subject to Act’s cost accounting procedures. Authorizes public projects of $60,000 or less to be performed by the employees of a public agency, authorizes public projects of $200,000 or less to be let to contract by informal procedures, and requires public projects of more than $200,000 to be let to contract by formal bidding procedures.

SB 914 (Dodd) Construction Manager At-Risk Project Delivery. Expands the tools counties have to plan and deliver infrastructure projects by extending construction manager at-risk (CMAR) authority to other types of infrastructure projects beyond buildings. CSAC sponsored this bill, which provides an additional optional delivery method to deliver complex projects with benefits such as early contractor involvement, cost predictability, enhanced schedule controls, and risk mitigation.

Building Codes and Permits

AB 2485 (Chau) Building Inspections. Prohibits a local official who inspects a commercial property or business for compliance with a state statute or regulation or local ordinance from being accompanied during the inspection by a person with a potential financial interest in the outcome of the inspection, unless the person is the owner or agent of the owner, or is under contract with the local government to provide specified inspection-related services.

AB 2598 (Quirk) Code Enforcement. Facilitate code enforcement efforts by increasing penalties for violations of local ordinances, especially in the case of commercial properties where illegal dumping or other unauthorized uses have occurred. Specifically, increases the amounts of the fines to $130 for a first violation, $700 for a 2nd violation of the same ordinance within one year, and $1,300 for each additional violation of the same ordinance within one year of the first violation for violations of a local building and safety code determined to be an infraction.

AB 2913 (Wood) Term of Building Permits. Provides that a permit remains valid for purposes of the California Building Standards Law if the work on the site authorized by that permit is commenced within 12 months after its issuance, unless the permittee has abandoned the work authorized by the permit. CSAC and our local government partners negotiated amendments to limit administrative burdens and prevent unintended impacts and removed our opposition. 

AB 3002 (Grayson) Disability Access. Requires local jurisdictions issuing building permits for commercial construction or business licenses to make available a notice containing specified information regarding disability access.

SB 1226 (Bates) Retroactive Building Permits. Requires the Department of Housing and Community  to propose the adoption of a building standard to the California Building Standards Commission pursuant to existing law that would authorize, when a record of the issuance of a building permit for the construction of an existing residential unit does not exist, that local building officials may determine when the residential unit was constructed and apply the State Housing Law, the building standards published in the California Building Standards Code, and other rules and regulations in effect on that date and issue a retroactive building permit for that construction.

 

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