CSAC Bulletin Article

Update on Key Housing, Land Use, Transportation, and Tribal Relations Bills

June 10, 2021

Last week, several bills related to housing, land use, transportation, and tribal intergovernmental relations moved out of the Assembly and Senate and onto the next house. While most bills CSAC staff have been tracking in the housing, land use, transportation, and tribal relations policy area met the legislative deadline and moved out of the house in which they were introduced, a few of them did not move out of committees or off of the Assembly or Senate floors for various reasons, including efforts to limit the number of bills that members move through the legislative process this year.

CSAC staff have been working with legislative staff and local government partners to help shape the bills that have an impact to counties. Below is a summary of the housing, land use, transportation, and tribal relations bills that we have been tracking. CSAC will keep counties updated on the latest developments on these measures.

Please email Marina Espinoza at mespinoza@counties.org with any feedback, questions, or concerns on any of these bills.

Housing and Land Use

AB 115 (Bloom) – Housing in Sites Designated for Commercial Uses: Would, until January 1, 2031, mandate that a housing development in which at least 20 percent of the units have an affordable housing cost or affordable rent for low-income households be an authorized use on a site designated in any element of the general plan for commercial uses.

CSAC holds an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure. We have requested amendments to apply the provisions of the bill to only office or retail uses in commercial zones, limit its applicability to sites located in census-designated urbanized areas, and to allow counties to count commercial sites where the bill would apply toward their regional housing needs allocation planning requirement, irrespective of whether the current zoning allows for residential uses, provided that the sites are able to accommodate residential development.

AB 115 did not move out of the Assembly Committee on Local Government and will no longer be moving through the legislative process this year.

AB 215 (Chiu) – Regional Housing Needs Progress Determination Process: Would create a new, mid-cycle regional housing needs progress determination process and mandates cities and counties with “low progress” in meeting those housing targets to consult with the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and adopt policies consistent with yet-to-be-released HCD regulations.

CSAC holds an “oppose” position on this measure. Our primary concerns include mandating local governments to achieve HCD’s designation as a prohousing jurisdiction and adding a mid-cycle housing element review process that will be targeted mostly at jurisdictions with weaker economics.

AB 215 is in the Senate and has been referred to the Committee on Housing.

AB 362 (Quirk-Silva) – Safety Regulations for Homeless Shelters: Would create a set of minimum habitability standards for homeless shelters and makes shelters with code enforcement violations, as specified, ineligible for state and federal homelessness funding.

CSAC currently does not have a position on this bill and is soliciting feedback from counties, especially as related to the impacts of the bill on any county-funded or operated shelters built pursuant to a local shelter crisis declaration.

AB 362 is in the Senate and has been referred to the Committee on Housing.  

AB 602 (Grayson) – Impact Fee Nexus Study: Would make significant changes to laws governing local development impact fee programs.

CSAC currently holds an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure. We have concerns with the provision requiring the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to develop of a nexus fee template. We are also concerned with requiring capital improvement planning for any infrastructure funded by impact fees in excess of $2 million dollars.

AB 602 is in the Senate and has been referred to the Committees on Governance and Finance and Housing.  

AB 838 (Friedman) – State Housing Law and Code Enforcement: Would require local governments to respond to lead hazard and substandard building complaints from tenants and specified other parties and to provide free copies of inspection reports and citations to the requestor and others who may be impacted.

CSAC currently holds an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure but is making progress in working with the author and sponsor to resolve our concerns. Among those concerns, the bill’s provisions could also be construed to create a “mandatory duty” for local agencies that may result in litigation and financial liability for cities and counties.

AB 838 is in the Senate and has been referred to the Committee on Housing.

AB 880 (Aguiar-Curry) – Affordable Disaster Housing Revolving Development and Acquisition Program: Would, upon appropriation by the Legislature, establish the Affordable Disaster Housing Revolving Development and Acquisition Program. This program would expedite relief funding for the development or preservation of affordable housing in the state’s declared disaster areas that have experienced damage or loss of homes that were occupied by lower-income households.

CSAC holds a “support” position on this measure.

AB 880 was held in the Assembly Appropriations Suspense file and will no longer be moving through the legislative process this year.

AB 950 (Ward) – Caltrans Sale of Excess Property for Affordable Housing Purposes: Would authorize the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to sell its excess real property to the city, county, or city and county where the real property is located if the local government agrees to use the real property for the sole purpose of implementing affordable housing, emergency shelters, or feeding programs. This bill would also exempt these sales from the California Environmental Quality Act.

CSAC holds a “support” position on this measure and is reviewing recent amendments to the bill related to construction labor standards for properties conveyed to local agencies pursuant to the bill.

AB 950 is currently pending committee referral in the Senate.

AB 989 (Gabriel) – Housing Accountability Committee: Would create an appeals board, the Housing Accountability Committee (HAC) at the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), to receive appeals from developers when a housing development is denied by a local government, and to approve the development if the denial violates the provisions of the Housing Accountability Act.

CSAC currently holds an “oppose” position on this measure. We are opposed to adding a hearing by the Executive Branch of the State Government to the process of resolving development disputes.

AB 989 is currently pending committee referral in the Senate.

AB 1271 (Ting) – Surplus Land: Would expand the types of land exempt from the Surplus Lands Act (SLA), impose new procedural requirements on local agencies disposing of surplus land (disposing agencies), and make various technical changes to the SLA.

CSAC previously held an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure. However, the author addressed the concerns outlined in our letter, and we have removed our opposition to the bill.

AB 1271 did not move out of the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development and will no longer be moving through the legislative process this year.

AB 1423 (Daly) – Multifamily Housing Programs: Would allow developers to receive grant funding from the California Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) during the construction period thereby saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in construction period interest expenses.

CSAC currently holds a “support” position on this measure.

AB 1423 is in the Senate and has been referred to the Committee on Housing.

SB 6 (Caballero) – Housing in Sites Designated for Commercial Uses: Would create a new process allowing residential development on commercial sites, including allowing qualifying projects to use the streamlined application procedures of SB 35 (Wiener, 2017).

CSAC currently holds an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure. We are requesting that the provisions of the bill apply to only office or retail uses in commercial zones and that housing element credit be offered for eligible sites. We have also expressed concerns with the reallocation provisions of the bill and with establishing a by-right process for non-zoning compliant projects. Finally, we have also proposed that SB 6 be amended to use the zoning code rather than any element in the General Plan, as counties update their zoning code on a more regular basis.

SB 6 is currently pending committee referral in the Assembly.

SB 9 (Atkins) – Housing Development Approvals: Requires ministerial approval of a housing development of no more than two units in a single-family zone (duplex), the subdivision of a parcel zoned for residential use into two parcels (lot split), or both.

CSAC currently holds a “support if amended” position on this measure. We have requested that the scope of SB 9, as applied to unincorporated areas, be narrowed to include only urbanized areas and expressly exclude parcels located in Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones. We have also requested that Section 2 of the bill be amended to allow for the urban lot split to be finalized only after a Certificate of Occupancy is issued by the local jurisdiction. Finally, we are also seeking an amendment that SB 9 be amended to exclude parcels created through the parcel map process to ensure underlying infrastructure is sufficient to support a housing development larger than four units.

SB 9 passed out of the Assembly Committee on Local Government yesterday, and it moved to the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development.

SB 10 (Wiener) – Housing Density: Among other provisions, this bill would, until January 1, 2029, authorize a city or county to pass an ordinance, notwithstanding any local restrictions on zoning ordinances, to zone any parcel for up to 10 units of residential density, at a height specified by the ordinance, if the parcel is located in a transit-rich area or an urban infill site, as specified.

CSAC currently does not have a position on this bill.

SB 10 is currently pending referral to a committee in the Assembly.

SB 477 (Wiener) – General Plan Annual Report: Would, beginning January 1, 2024, require a planning agency to include in its annual report specified information on costs, standards, and applications for proposed housing development projects and specified information on housing development projects within the jurisdiction

CSAC currently does not have a position on this measure, but is reviewing recent amendments to determine if there are opportunities to reduce the additional reporting burden on counties.

SB 477 has been referred to the Committees on Housing and Community Development and Local Government in the Assembly.

SB 478 (Wiener) – Housing Development Projects: Would impose statewide overrides on zoning standards that otherwise apply to housing projects for two to ten residential units.

CSAC currently holds an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure. We have requested amendments to exclude properties zoned for agricultural areas, provide clarity on interactions with ADU laws, include an infill standard and making the bill inapplicable in areas without full urban infrastructure. We are also concerned with the interactions between the floor area ratio and other standards.

SB 478 is in the Assembly and has been referred to the Committees on Housing and Community Development and Local Government.

SCA 2 (Allen and Wiener) – Public Housing Projects: Would repeal Article XXXIV of the California Constitution upon approval of the statewide electorate. Article XXXIV requires a vote of the electorate when a local government seeks to build or fund affordable housing and was designed to impede the construction of healthy and affordable homes for Californians at all income levels.

CSAC currently holds a “support” position on this measure.

SCA 2 passed the Senate Committee on Housing and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments. Since this measure is a constitutional amendment, it is not subject to the deadlines that other Assembly and Senate bills are subject to, and there is still time for it to continue to move through the legislative process.  

Sustainable Communities Strategies

AB 1147 (Friedman): Would require each Metropolitan Planning Organization to submit a 2035 target action plan by July 1, 2023, to identify barriers in meeting regional greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and establishes the Sustainable Communities Strategy Block Grant Program.

CSAC currently does not have a position on this measure.

AB 1147 is in the Senate and has been referred to the Committees on Environmental Quality and Transportation.

SB 261 (Allen): Would task the California Air Resources Board with devising new greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for the automobile and light truck sector —as well as adding vehicle miles traveled reduction targets— to the requirements for sustainable communities strategy plans as prepared by the state’s metropolitan planning organizations.

CSAC took an “oppose” position on this bill, which did not move out of the Senate Committee on Transportation and is now a two-year bill.

SB 475 (Cortese): Would make changes to the provisions of SB 375 (Steinberg, Chapter 728, Statutes of 2008), including but not limited to: requiring the Air Resources Board to update Sustainable Communities Strategy guidelines in coordination with specified agencies; tasking ARB with appointing a State-Regional Collaborative for Climate, Equity, and Resilience, with membership as specified; requiring ARB to update short- and long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, as specified; requiring the California Energy Commission to set regional building decarbonization targets, and eliminating the Alternative Planning Strategy compliance option.

CSAC did not take a position on this measure, which did not move out of the Senate Committee on Transportation and is now a two-year bill.

Transportation

AB 43 (Friedman) – Traffic Safety: Grants the California Department of Transportation and local authorities greater flexibility in setting speed limits based on recommendations the Zero Traffic Fatality Task Force made in January 2020.

CSAC currently does not have a position on this measure, but is interested in feedback from counties on the bill.

AB 43 is in the Senate and has been referred to the Committee on Transportation.

AB 1035 (Salas) – Recycled Materials Standards: Would require local agencies to apply standard specifications that allow for the use of recycled materials at or above the level allowed in the California Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans) most recently published standard specifications in streets and highways when feasible and cost effective.

CSAC currently holds an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure. The author has addressed some of our concerns in the latest amendments made to the bill. However, we remain concerned with requiring that cities and counties adopt future specifications that we have not had the opportunity to review and consider, especially since these specifications are specifically designed for Caltrans projects.

AB 1035 is in the Senate and has been referred to the Committee on Transportation.

SB 580 (Hueso) Recycled Plastics Study and Specifications: Would authorize the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to conduct a study on the feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and life-cycle environmental benefits of using recycled plastics in asphalt used as roadway paving material. If Caltrans determines that this use of recycled plastics is feasible and that recycled plastics can be included in asphalt in a manner that is cost-effective and provides life-cycle environmental benefits, SB 580 would authorize Caltrans to establish specifications for including recycled plastics in asphalt used as paving material in the construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation of a highway or road. If established by Caltrans, SB 580 would require local agencies to consider the adoption of the specifications at a public hearing.

CSAC holds an “oppose unless amended” position on SB 580.

SB 580 did not move out of the Senate.

Tribal Relations

AB 1180 (Mathis) – Surplus Land Transfers to Federally-Recognized Tribes: Would expand the existing provision in the Surplus Lands Act (SLA) that exempts government to government transfers to include surplus land transfers to federally recognized California Indian Tribes. This would allow a local government to transfer surplus land to a federally recognized California Indian Tribe without triggering the procedures of the SLA.

CSAC currently does not have a position on this bill.

AB 1180 is in the Senate and has been referred to the Committee on Governance and Finance.

SB 712 (Hueso) – Fee-to-trust Applications: Would impose requirements on local governments regarding comments on fee-to-trust applications by California federally recognized tribes.

CSAC currently holds an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure.

The bill is in the Assembly and has been referred to the Committee on Local Government.

Miscellaneous Permitting Bills

AB 537 (Quirk) – Wireless Telecommunications and Broadband Facilities: Would expedite wireless telecommunications facility permitting.

CSAC moved from an “oppose unless amended” position to a “neutral” position on this measure after the author took amendments to address our concerns related to facility siting and construction in the public right-of-way.

AB 537 is in the Senate and has been referred to the Committees on Energy, Utilities and Communications and Governance and Finance.  

AB 970 (McCarty) – Streamlined Permitting for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: Would establish specific time frames in which local agencies must approve permits for electric vehicle charging stations.

CSAC holds an “oppose” position on this measure. We are concerned with the provisions requiring EV charging stations to be deemed complete within five business days after an application is submitted and approved within 20 business days after submission of the application if the jurisdiction has not issued a permit and if the building official has not made findings that the proposed installation could have adverse impacts.

AB 970 is currently pending committee referral in the Senate.

AB 1124 (Friedman) – Solar Energy Systems: Would revise the definition of “solar energy system” as that term is used for the purpose of local permitting of such systems, including the allowable fees a local agency may charge, and would clarify the permit fees local agencies may charge for commercial solar energy systems.

CSAC currently holds an “oppose” position on this measure. We are concerned with expanding the definition of “solar energy system” to include facilities not installed on a building or structure, thereby arguably making commercial or utility grade solar projects subject to only a ministerial review process by the local jurisdiction. We also have concerns with the economic impact of AB 1124 on local building departments and local jurisdictions. By expanding the definition of “solar energy system,” the types of solar projects subject to the fee cap is greatly expanded, creating cost pressures for building departments that will have increased duties for reviewing these new projects.

AB 1124 is currently in the Senate and has been referred to Committee on Governance and Finance.

California Environmental Quality Act

AB 819 (Levine)California Environmental Quality Act: notices and documents: electronic filing and posting: Would require ongoing online posting of various CEQA notices and documents and extend the requirement to submit various CEQA documents to the State Clearinghouse in an electronic format to all projects subject to CEQA.

CSAC currently has no position on AB 819, but is interested in feedback from counties on the implications of the bill.

AB 819 is currently in the Senate and has been referred to the Committee on Environmental Quality.

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