CSAC Bulletin Article

New Laws Impacting Counties: Housing, Land Use & Transportation

October 31, 2019

Governor Newsom signed 870 bills into law this year. To keep counties informed of new laws that impact them, CSAC will be publishing a series of articles to spotlight those laws in each policy area. This week, the Housing, Land Use and Transportation policy area provides information on new laws affecting housing, land use, transportation, public works, building standards, and more.

The new laws listed below become effective January 1, 2020.

Housing and Land Use

AB 754 (Grayson) – Regional Notification Centers. Requires a local agency to include a reference in an application to install a solar energy system regarding the requirement to notify the appropriate regional notification center before conducting an excavation. Prohibits a local agency from being liable for any damages associated with the failure of a person required to obtain a solar energy system permit to notify the appropriate regional notification center of an intended excavation.

AB 1100 (Kamlager-Dove) – Electric Vehicle Parking Spaces. Clarifies that parking spaces served by electric vehicle supply equipment shall count as parking spaces for the purpose of complying with applicable minimum parking space requirements established by a local jurisdiction.

AB 1763 (Chiu) – Density Bonuses. Requires local governments to award a developer additional density, concessions and incentives, and height increases if 100% of the units in a development are restricted to lower income households.

SB 242 (Roth) – Notification of Proposed Developments. Updates and streamlines local agency requirements for notifying the military of proposed developments near military installations.

SB 330 (Skinner) – Housing Crisis Act of 2019. Imposes restrictions on certain types of development standards, amends the Housing Accountability Act, and makes changes to local approval processes and the Permit Streamlining Act until January 1, 2025.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU)

The Department of Housing and Community Development will be issuing a detailed memorandum describing all new ADU statutory requirements. CSAC will share that information with counties once it is available.

AB 68 (Ting) – ADU Standards. Removes local governments’ authority to impose standards on lot coverage, creates an exception to local ordinances that restrict ADUs at the neighborhood level based on criteria in Government Code Section 65852.2(a), and prohibits an ordinance from imposing requirements on minimum lot size for ADUs in single-family and multifamily residential zones.

AB 587 (Friedman) – ADU Exemption. Creates a limited exemption in ADU law allowing nonprofits to sell deed-restricted land with a tenants-in-common agreement to eligible homeowners.

AB 671 (Friedman) – Plan Incentivizing and Promoting ADUs. Requires local governments to include a plan in their housing element to incentivize and promote the creation of ADUs that can be offered at an affordable rent for very-low, low-, and moderate-income households.

AB 881 (Bloom) – ADU Permitting Criteria and Occupancy Requirements.  Limits the criteria by which local jurisdictions can limit where ADUs are permitted; specifies that ADUs must be ministerially approved if constructed in existing garages; eliminates the potential for local agencies to place owner occupancy requirements on the units for five years.

SB 13 (Wieckowski) – ADU Impact Fees and Building Standards. Imposes additional restrictions and conditions on local governments’ ability to charge development impact fees, including waiving specified fees for ADUs 500 square feet in size or smaller. Creates an amnesty program for accessory dwelling units built before January 1, 2020, which would grant non-code compliant ADU owners the opportunity to request a delayed enforcement for up to five years.

Surplus Land and Reporting Requirements

AB 1255 (R. Rivas) – Inventory of Surplus Land. Requires each city and county to report to the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) an inventory of its surplus lands located in urbanized areas or urban Clusters. Requires HCD to provide this information to the state Department of General Services (DGS) for inclusion in a digitized inventory of state surplus land sites.

AB 1483 (Grayson) – Housing Data. Requires counties and other local jurisdictions to post specified development fee-related information on their websites, and disseminate publicly information about its zoning ordinances, development standards, fees, exactions, and affordability requirements. The bill also requires HCD to develop and update a 10-year housing data strategy.

AB 1486 (Ting) – Expansion of Surplus Land Act. Expands Surplus Land Act requirements for local agencies, requires local governments to include specified information relating to surplus lands in their housing elements and annual progress reports, and requires HCD to establish a database of surplus lands.

SB 6 (Beall) – Sites Suitable for Residential Development. Requires DGS, in coordination with HCD, to create a public inventory of local sites suitable for residential development, along with state surplus lands.

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

AB 782 (Berman) – CEQA Exemption for Land Transfers. Codifies the CEQA categorical exemption for transfers of ownership of interests in land in order to preserve open space, habitat, or historical resources, thereby eliminating the exceptions for project-specific effects which apply to a categorical exemption.

AB 1515 (Friedman) – Community Plans Under CEQA Review. Provides clarity to local governments in implementing development projects consistent with an updated community plan when legal actions are taken against a jurisdiction’s plan on the basis of noncompliance with the California Environmental Quality Act

SB 450 (Umberg) – CEQA Exemption for Supportive or Transitional Housing Projects. Exempts a motel, hotel, residential hotel, or hostel that is converted into a supportive housing or transitional housing project from the CEQA until January 1, 2025 for minor interior or exterior alterations to facilitate their use as supportive or transitional housing.

SB 744 (Caballero) – CEQA Exemption for Permanent Supportive Housing. Makes changes to the existing streamlined process for supportive housing developments and creates a CEQA exemption for developments that qualify for No Place Like Home funding.


AB 139 (Quirk-Silva) – Emergency and Transitional Housing Act of 2019. Requires a local government to base the:

  • Need for emergency shelter in its housing element on the most recent homeless point-in-time count conducted before the start of the planning period
  • Need for emergency shelter based on number of beds available on a year-round and seasonal basis
  • Number of shelter beds that go unused on an average monthly basis within a one-year period
  • Percentage of those in emergency shelters that move to permanent housing solutions

AB 761 (Nazarian) – Temporary Homeless Shelters. Authorizes, at the discretion of the Adjutant General, the use of any armory deemed vacant by the Military Department throughout the year by the county or city in which the armory is located to provide temporary shelter from hazardous weather conditions for homeless persons.

SB 211 (Beall) – Caltrans Property for Emergency Shelters or Feeding Programs. Authorizes Caltrans to lease airspace and real property acquired for highway purposes to local and state agencies statewide for $1 per month for purposes of establishing an emergency shelter or feeding program.


SB 137 (Dodd) – Streamlining Transportation Projects. Streamlines environmental review and expedites county bridge and safety projects by authorizing additional exchanges of federal and state transportation funding through the Match Exchange Program.

Public Works

AB 456 (Chiu) – Claims Process for Public Contracts. Extends the sunset date from January 1, 2020 to January 1, 2027 of a claim resolution process that enables contractors to seek public agency review of claims that arise during public works projects.

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