CSAC Bulletin Article

One Major Housing Bill Stalls While Another Arises

June 20, 2019

Legislators are working to pass their bills out of policy committees as the July 12 deadline approaches. However, one key housing bill — AB 1279 (Bloom) — will not continue to move during the current legislative year. The bill would allow certain qualifying housing developments to be approved “by-right” in designated high-opportunity communities with lower residential densities. CSAC holds a “concerns” position on this measure.

On the Assembly side, a significant housing bill has been amended into another vehicle. Senator Wiener gutted and amended the introduced version of SB 592 and converted it into a Housing Accountability Act bill that:

  • Applies the Housing Accountability Act to any land use decision by a local agency.  
  • Authorizes a project applicant to seek compensatory damages for a violation of the act.
  • Specifies that conditions that have the same effect or impact on the ability of the project to provide housing, and therefore run afoul of the Housing Accountability Act, include:
  • A reduction in the number of bedrooms or other normal residential features
  • The substantial impairment of the housing development project’s economic viability
  • Requires an application not subject to the Permit Streamlining Act to be deemed or determined to be complete at the time it is submitted to a local agency.
  • Specifies that a general plan, zoning, or subdivision standard or criterion is not “applicable” if its applicability to a housing development project is discretionary or if the project could be approved without the standard or criterion being met.
  • Provides that disproving a housing development project includes taking action on the proposed housing development application and failing to comply with time periods specified in law authorizing a ministerial project.
  • Requires a local agency to provide a written document within 30 days with an explanation as to why the agency determined that an application revised after the initial denial is inconsistent, not in compliance, or not in conformity with applicable law.
  • Defines a housing development project to also include a single unit, including an accessory dwelling unit, or the addition of one or more bedrooms to an existing residential unit.

CSAC is reviewing SB 592 carefully and is interested in feedback from counties on the bill. Please provide any comments to Marina Espinoza at mespinoza@counties.org.

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