CSAC Bulletin Article

Update on Land Use Planning Bills

June 30, 2016

CSAC removed its opposition to a bill related to the state’s density bonus law this week after securing amendments that would ease implementation for counties.  Under existing state law, residential developments that include specified percentages of affordable to low-income housing are offered higher-level density and other concessions by local governments. AB 2501 is aimed at improving that process.

The bill previously would have given developers an upper hand by unreasonably limiting the information a county could request about the concessions requested for a project eligible for density bonus and seemingly made it difficult or impossible for a county to deny any concession just because it resulted in cost savings to the developer. The amendments specify that a county can request reasonable documentation related to an incentive or concession. The bill also now maintains a clear link in state law between the value of a concession in reducing the cost of development to provide for the costs of including affordable housing.

CSAC also continues to work with the proponents of two bills related to local permitting of second residential units. While Assembly Member Bloom’s bill continues to include a problematic requirement that every local agency adopt a second unit ordinance, the author committed to working with CSAC and the opposition on remaining issues with his AB 2299. He also agreed to accept amendments that would ensure that local parking requirements for second units are only waived when a second unit is built near high-quality transit.

Unlike AB 2299, Senator Wieckowski’s SB 1069 allows cities and counties to continue approve second units under state law without adopting a local ordinance. However, it continues to include problematic timeframes for approving applications, overly broad prohibitions on local parking standards, and language that could prevent sewer and water providers from charging adequate fees for capacity impacts of new second unit development. While the Senator has not been open to amendments to address our parking and timeframe concerns, he committed to working with local government to resolve concerns about utility capacity and connection fees before the bill moves out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  

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