CSAC Bulletin Article

New Laws Impacting Counties: Housing, Land Use & Transportation

October 8, 2020

Governor Newsom met the September 30 deadline to take action on measures approved by the Legislature and delivered to his desk. 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, and tribal gaming.

The new laws listed below become effective January 1, 2021 unless otherwise noted.

Housing and Land Use

AB 168 (Aguiar-Curry) – Tribal Consultations and SB 35 Streamlined Housing Applications. Requires a pre-consultation process with Native American tribes prior to a developer’s submission of an SB 35 permit, which entitles a developer to a streamlined housing approval process, in order to identify and protect tribal cultural resources. The bill also adds reporting requirements to the annual progress reports local agencies must submit and requires jurisdictions to provide information on their progress in complying with obligations to consult with California Native American tribes and in identifying and protecting, preserving, and mitigating impacts to places, features, and objects in sacred sites. AB 168 became effective immediately upon enactment.

AB 434 (Daly) – Housing Financing Programs. Streamlines affordable housing grant programs under the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) by aligning application requirements and procedures. CSAC submitted a letter requesting the Governor’s signature on this measure. By aligning procedures of the financing programs under the purview of HCD, AB 434 will help stretch this limited funding as far as possible and create additional homes for lower-income Californians. The provisions of this bill become effective on January 1, 2022.

AB 725 (Wicks) – Zoning for Medium-Density Development. Requires a metropolitan jurisdiction, excluding county unincorporated areas, to allocate a portion of its share of the regional housing needs allocation for moderate and above moderate-income housing to sites with zoning allowing at least four units of housing. CSAC worked with the author’s office to secure amendments in 2019 that exclude unincorporated areas from the bill. The provisions of this bill become effective on January 1, 2022.

AB 831 (Grayson) – Modifications to the Streamlined Approval Process Under SB 35. Requires local governments to determine if a modification requested by a developer prior to the issuance of the final building permit is consistent with the objective planning standard and requires that the jurisdiction either approve or deny the request for modification within 60 or 90 days after the request is submitted. The bill also makes changes to the processes by which local agencies consider public improvements. AB 831 became effective immediately upon enactment.

AB 1561 (C. Garcia) – Housing Element and Entitlement Extensions. Grants HCD discretion to require a local government’s housing element to include an analysis of governmental constraints upon the maintenance, improvement, or development of housing for individuals identified under the Unruh Civil Rights Act, beginning on or after January 1, 2024. The bill also extends, by 18 months, the time frame for the expiration, effectuation, or utilization of a housing entitlement for any housing entitlement, that was issued prior to, and was in effect on, March 4, 2020, and will expire prior to December 31, 2021. AB 1561 includes most of the housing entitlement provisions included in SB 281 (Wiener), which CSAC supported after working closely with the author’s office and committee staff to finalize the types of permits and entitlements, as well as clarifying the interaction with local extensions that have already been granted. Note that AB 1561 applies more broadly to tentative parcel maps than SB 281, which had been limited to maps related to housing projects.

AB 1851 (Wicks) – Parking Requirements for Religious Institutions Affiliated Housing Projects. Prohibits local agencies from requiring religious-use parking spaces that a developer of a religious institution affiliated housing development project proposes to eliminate as part of that housing project. The bill prohibits the number of religious-use parking spaces requested to be eliminated from exceeding 50 percent of the number that are available at the time of the request and prohibits local agencies from requiring the curing of any preexisting deficit of parking spaces as a condition of approval for the housing project. AB 1851 also requires a local agency to allow the number of religious-use parking spaces available after completion of the housing project to count toward the number of parking spaces otherwise required for approval.

AB 2345 (Gonzalez) Density Bonus Law Waivers and Concessions and Affordability Thresholds. Revises Density Bonus Law to increase the maximum allowable density and the number of concessions and incentives a developer can seek. CSAC removed opposition to this bill after the author addressed our key requests to retain a maximum of up to four incentives and concessions under density bonus law for 100 percent affordable projects and to provide a clear exemption for local governments with an ordinance and/or housing program that allows for density bonuses that exceed those required by the current state law effective through December 31, 2020.

AB 2553 (Ting) – Shelter Crisis Declarations. Expands the Shelter Crisis Act to all cities and counties in California, adds safe parking sites as an eligible form of shelter, and extends the sunset to 2026. The Shelter Crisis Act authorized certain local jurisdictions that have declared a shelter crisis to allow homeless individuals to occupy facilities designated as emergency housing for the duration of the crisis. It also provided limited liability and suspended local housing, health, and safety standards for public facilities if full compliance would hamper mitigation of the effects of the shelter crisis. It allowed a jurisdiction to adopt, by ordinance, reasonable local standards for design, site development, and operation of shelters. AB 2553 became effective immediately upon enactment.

AB 2782 (Stone)  – Rent Control and Change of Use in Mobile Home Parks. Makes changes to the requirements that must be met in order to convert a mobile home park to another use and, among other provisions, prohibits local governments from approving the change in use unless they find that it will not result in a shortage of affordable housing within the local jurisdiction. The bill also removes a provision in state law that exempts mobile home leases from any otherwise applicable local rent control ordinance if, among other conditions, the lease term is greater than one year.

AB 3088 (Chiu) – COVID-19 Tenant and Landlord Protection. Imposes temporary measures to help avoid evictions and foreclosures due to the impacts of COVID-19. Among other provisions, the bill limits the ability of local governments to enact or expand local eviction protections before February 1, 2021. A detailed summary of the bill is available in this recent bulletin article. AB 3088 became effective immediately upon enactment.

SB 1079 (Skinner) – Residential Property Foreclosure. Forbids a foreclosure trustee from bundling properties for sale at a foreclosure auction and, instead, requires that each property be bid on separately. Among other provisions, the bill provides eligible bidders, including counties, 45 days after a home foreclosure auction to make an offer for the home that exceeds the highest bid.

AB 2421 (Quirk) – Permitting of Emergency Standby Generators for Macro Cell Towers. Requires local agencies, until January 1, 2024, to make the installation of an emergency standby generator to serve a macro cell tower site that meets specified requirements a permitted use and requires a local agency to review an application for installation on an administrative, nondiscretionary basis.


SB 288 (Wiener) – CEQA Exemptions for Transportation-Related Projects. Exempts various transportation-related projects from CEQA, provided that certain conditions are met. Specific project types covered by the exemption include:

  • Pedestrian and bicycle facilities
  • Projects that improve customer information and wayfinding for transit riders, bicyclists, or pedestrians
  • Transit prioritization projects
  • Conversion of general purpose lanes or highway shoulders to bus-only lanes
  • A project for the institution or increase of new bus rapid transit, bus, or light rail service, including the construction of stations, on existing public rights-of-way or existing highway rights-of-way
  • A project to construct or maintain infrastructure to charge or refuel zero-emission transit buses, subject to limitations

The bill further requires that certain types of exempt projects meet additional criteria, including that the lead agency certify that the projects will be carried out by a skilled and trained workforce, as defined in the Public Contract Code, and that they are constructed in an urbanized area.

AB 1286 (Muratsuchi) – Shared Mobility Devices. Requires a shared mobility service provider to enter into an agreement with, or obtain a permit from, the city or county with jurisdiction over the area of use. The bill also requires a city or county that authorizes a shared mobility device provider to operate within its jurisdiction to adopt operation, parking, and maintenance rules, as provided, regarding the use of the shared mobility devices in its jurisdiction before the provider may offer shared mobility devices for rent or use.

Tribal Gaming

SB 869 (Dodd) – Tribal-State Gaming Compact Ratification. Ratifies 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. A detailed summary of the provisions of these compacts is included in this recent bulletin article. SB 869 became effective immediately upon enactment.

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