Category Archive: Legislative Update

  1. Legislature Extends Legacy of 2017 Housing Package

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    California lawmakers continued to build on the achievements of the 2017 housing package by passing a number of bills to address the ongoing housing crisis during the final days of the 2018 legislative session, which ended on Aug. 31. While issues related to land use planning, affordable housing development, fair housing efforts, and homelessness continued to figure prominently in the debate, the Legislature also passed a number of bills to mitigate risks associated with a second crisis: wildfire disasters.  Governor Brown has until Sept. 30, 2018, to sign or veto the bills.

    Land Use Planning

    Both AB 1771 and SB 828, which are awaiting Governor Brown’s signature, would address ongoing concerns that the current Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) distribution process is more often influenced by politics rather than data on housing needs.

    AB 1771, authored by Assm. Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), would substantively change the allocation process by requiring Councils of Government (COGs) to develop their RHNA allocation methodology in consultation with the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) rather than waiting to consult with HCD until they are in the process of developing their allocation plans. The plans would need to integrate statutory objectives related to promoting infill development, advancing socioeconomic equity, achieving greenhouse gas targets, increasing the availability of affordable housing units relative to the number of low-wage jobs, and affirmatively furthering fair housing.

    AB 1771 also calls for COGs to employ a more transparent approach to developing and implementing the allocation process. For example, COGs would also need to electronically publish the results of its survey of members on the proposed methodology and information on how the proposed methodology achieves statutory objectives. The methodology would need to address factors such as housing need, housing burden, overcrowding, and the availability of housing to align with employment and wages. HCD would have 60 days following the public comment period to determine whether the methodology meets RHNA allocation statutory objectives. Another change contained within the bill would prohibit local governments from proposing the redistribution of housing allocations among themselves as part of an appeal process.

    SB 828, authored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), seeks to establish a more transparent, equitable process for determining each jurisdiction’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA). While each jurisdiction is required to plan for its fair share of the regional housing need, the current process does not adequately account for unmet needs due to historically low housing production. Further, the process has been criticized for favoring cities that can apply political pressure to reduce their allocations. SB 828 would allow HCD to include existing households in the number of total projected households when determining RHNA methodology. It would also prohibit COGs from using factors, such as the prior underproduction of housing or stable population numbers from the previous RHNA, in determining the jurisdiction’s future share of housing needs.

    SB 828 would further require the final regional housing need allocation plan to demonstrate government efforts to reverse racial and wealth disparities throughout a region. Specifically, COGs would be required to compare local overcrowding and vacancy rates, as well as the percentage of cost-burdened households, with those of a healthy housing market. Before passing the bill, the Assembly cut language that would have required a city or county to identify an inventory of available land equal to 125 percent of its RHNA requirements for each income category or identify zoning and other strategies to address needs.

    The Legislature also passed AB 829, which was authored by Assm. David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and designed to discourage local legislative bodies from requiring developers to obtain a letter of acknowledgement or other documentation prior to seeking state funding for a project in their district. Senate amendments refocused the bill’s language to prohibit the use of state funding in any project that requires documentation from a local legislative body or one of its members. The bill was introduced following a Los Angeles Times article on Los Angeles city councilmembers power to block housing developments in their district by requiring, but not providing, such documentation.

    In addition, AB 2923, authored by Assms. David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Timothy Grayson (D-Concord), would streamline the approval process for transit-oriented development (TOD) on infill sites owned by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and located within a half-mile of a BART station. The bill would also require the BART Board of Directors to establish TOD zoning standards by July 1, 2020. Cities and counties within the BART service area would have two years or until July 1, 2022, to adopt an ordinance conforming to the BART TOD zoning standards. If signed into law, the bill would enable BART to fulfill its goal of building 20,000 new units of housing, including 7,000 units of affordable housing, on the 250 acres of developable land it owns by 2040.

    Governor Brown has already signed, AB 3194, which updates the Housing Accountability Act to prohibit jurisdictions from rejecting a development of very low-income, low-income, or moderate-income housing or an emergency shelter without evidence to demonstrate that it would have a “specific, adverse impact upon the public health or safety.”  Authored by Assemb. Tom Daly (D-Santa Ana), the law prohibits jurisdictions from requiring rezoning for projects that meet objective general plan standards when local zoning is inconsistent with the general plan.

    The governor also signed AB 1406, which was authored by Assm. Todd Gloria (D-San Diego). The new law amends the Education Code to extend the allowable term of specific types of lease agreements entered into by a school district to 99 years and aligns the law with Civil Code. The Education Code had previously prevented school districts from entering a lease-leaseback agreement or lease-to-own agreement of more than 40 years with the entity that constructed the school facility. The maximum term under which school districts can co-locate with another entity through a joint-occupancy agreement has also been extended from 66 to 99 years.

    Affordable Housing Development

    Introduced by Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) and co-authored by Assms. Jesse Gabriel (D-Van Nuys) and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego), SB 961 would streamline the process for developing affordable housing near transit in enhanced infrastructure financing districts (EIFDs) in certain situations. EIFDs are government entities established by cities or counties for the specific purpose of financing public and private infrastructure and facilities, including low- and moderate-income housing. This bill would enable EIFDs to enact and form a Second Neighborhood Infill Finance and Transit Improvement Act (NIFTI-2), which allows for the issuance of bond financing to support affordable housing near transit without voter approval.

    SB 961 also sets forth procedures public financing authorities must follow to develop and adopt an infrastructure financing plan to expend NIIFTI-2 funds. Cities or counties would be allowed to allocate tax revenues to a NIFTI-2 by adopting a resolution, under certain conditions. Specifically, the district would be required to use at least 40 percent of the total funds it receives for rental or owner-occupied housing affordable to households earning 60 percent or less of the area median income (AMI). Rental housing funded through the EIFD would need to remain affordable for 55 years, and owner-occupied housing would have affordability restrictions for 45 years. Half of the total housing funds would be used to develop permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness or households earning less than 30 percent AMI.

    The bill was amended in the Assembly to require an EIFD to set aside at least 10 percent of its total funds to cover capital costs for greening efforts or active transportation capital projects. Other amendments established requirements for public hearings and guidelines to address potential landowner and resident protests of the financing plan.

    Two other bills, intended to make it easier to build accessory dwelling units, did not make it through the Legislature. AB 2890, authored by Assm. Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), would have further revised Accessory Dwelling Unit laws to prohibit local ordinances from imposing certain standards that constrain ADU development and required HCD to establish small home building standards. SB 831, introduced by Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) and coauthored by Sens. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), and Scott Wiener, would have significantly rewritten ADU statutes. The bills did not pass at least in part because local governments have only updated local ADU ordinances to comply with recent laws, which went into effect less than two years ago.

    Fair Housing

    The Legislature also took a proactive stance to ensure that all housing and community development programs combat patterns of discrimination and segregation by actively addressing disparities, promoting inclusive communities, and upholding civil rights and fair housing law regardless of whether they receive HUD funding.

    Authored by Assm. Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), AB 686 would require public agencies to be consistent with the final rule to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing, promulgated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Obama Administration. This would require Housing Elements due on or after January 1, 2021, to include an assessment of fair housing with an analysis of fair housing issues and trends contributing to disparate access to housing; goals, strategies, and actions to address factors that contribute to limited housing choice and access to opportunity; metrics to track progress toward goals; and the identification of land suitable for residential development.

    On August 28, Governor Brown signed AB 2219, authored by Assm. Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). This bill requires landlords to accept security deposits and rent from a third party in a form other than cash or electronic funds transfer. The third party must provide a signed acknowledgement that they are not the tenant. The new law seeks to prevent homelessness by requiring landlords to accept funds from individuals and/or organizations other than the tenant. The third-party payments do not constitute a contract between the landlord and third party, and the law does not prevent landlords from terminating a tenant rental agreement.

    Homelessness

    As part of ongoing efforts to address the public health impact and costs of homelessness, the Legislature passed bills to facilitate supportive housing development, support efforts to reduce youth homelessness, provide matching funds to support employment programs for people experiencing homelessness, and create the Orange County Housing Trust.

    Jointly authored by Assms. David Chiu and Tom Daly, AB 2162 expedites supportive housing development by making it a by-right use in multifamily and mixed use zones under certain conditions. The bill would allow ministerial approval of projects that are 100 percent affordable for low-income households earning up to 80 percent of AMI if 25 percent or 15 of the units, whichever is greater, are set aside for supportive housing. Projects would be required to have a 55-year affordability restrictions, no minimum parking requirements for supportive housing units located within a half-mile of transit, and a plan for on-site supportive services with named partners, proposed funding sources, and staffing commitments. Senate amendments would cap by-right development requirements at 50 units or less in cities or unincorporated areas of a county with a population of less than 200,000 and an annual Point-In-Time count of less than 1,500, although a city or county could approve by-right development for projects of over 50 units. If signed by Governor Brown, the bill would apply to all areas even where local governments are meeting RHNA.

    A second bill, SB 1152, authored by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-Montebello), would require hospital discharge policies and procedures to include specific processes for discharging people experiencing homelessness to ensure that they are not discharged without having a safe place to go. The law would require hospitals to inquire about an individual’s housing status; notify patients about options for housing, shelter, and supportive services based on their best interest and preferences; and identify a post-discharge destination. Assembly amendments eliminate requirements related to coordinating referrals and providing transportation in excess of 30 minutes or 30 miles, and delay implementation until July 1, 2019. In addition, hospitals would be required to maintain a discharge log of patients experiencing homelessness rather than report to the Office of State Health Planning and Development.

    The Legislature also passed SB 918, known as the Homeless Youth Act of 2018 and co-authored by Sen. Scott Wiener and Assm. Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), which would establish additional requirements for the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council focused on the specific needs of youth experiencing homelessness. As of the January 2017 Point-In-Time Count, California was home to more than 15,000 homeless youth, 38 percent of the total homeless youth population nationwide. The requirements include setting goals and outcomes measures; enhancing systems integration and coordination; guiding the coordination of policy, practice, and funding in coordination with stakeholders; identifying best practices; and, providing program development and technical assistance, as funding is available. Assembly amendments eliminated a grant program focused on youth homelessness.

    If signed into law, AB 3085, authored by Assm. Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), would establish the New Beginnings California Program within the Department of Community Services and Development. The program would provide up to $50,000 in matching funding for up to 50 cities or Continuum of Care (CoC) programs to pursue a homeless employment program of their own or expand on an existing one. Cities and CoCs would be able to contract with a qualifying local service provider to operate the program. To qualify, programs would need to connect individuals experiencing homelessness and living in supportive housing with employment through the city, a contracted service provider, or a private entity or prepare people for employment by providing relevant services and resources. Hourly wages must meet or exceed minimum wage. The city or CoC would be required to provide matching funds from charitable contributions or other grant funding.

    AB 448, authored by Assms. Tom Daly and Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), would allow Orange County and any city in the county to create the Orange County Housing Trust, a joint powers authority (JPA) that can receive public and private funding and authorize debt instruments to streamline shelter and permanent supportive housing development. The JPA would fund the development of housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness or those with extremely low- to low incomes within Orange County. The legislation was propelled forward by an Orange County Grand Jury report on the benefits of supportive housing and a UC Irvine study that showed the County could save an estimated $42 million on healthcare, law enforcement, and other local and county expenditures by funding supportive housing. The County would also be able to better leverage available funding to attract increased funding from the state.

    One of the bills that stalled in the Legislature was SB 792, which would have required the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council to develop and implement a statewide strategic plan to assist CoC lead agencies better implement HUD-recommended activities and better meet HUD requirements.  SB 1010, which would have created a pilot program to provide supportive housing to parolees with mental health conditions experiencing homelessness, also did not pass the Assembly Committee on Appropriations, in part because the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has already established a similar program with one county and because it would require CDCR to pay for mental health treatment for which counties already receive funding.

    Wildfire and Disaster Mitigation

    Governor Brown has already signed AB 1797, the first of several bills to result from the state’s most disastrous wildfire season on record. Authored by Assm. Marc Levine (D-San Rafael), the law will require insurers to conduct a replacement cost estimate that conforms to the State Department of Insurance’s methodology and rules when they sell or renew a residential insurance policy. This bill originated following recent wildfires, after which numerous consumers learned that their insurance coverage was based on outdated replacement costs and therefore inadequate to fully cover the cost of repairing or rebuilding their homes.

    SB 824, authored by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), would further protect consumers by preventing insurers from cancelling or not renewing residential insurance policies in fire-prone regions unless such actions were related to nonpayment, conviction of a crime related to increasing a property hazard, or fraud. Amendments specify that the regulations would not apply if the policy renewal threatened the insurer’s financial solvency.

    SB 894, authored by Sens. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) and co-authored by Assemb. Levine, would allow disaster victims with insufficient insurance coverage on their primary dwelling to combine payments under other policy limits up to the total cost of rebuilding or replacing the home. Insurers would also be required to renew policies for at least two renewals or 24 months, with a 12-month extension, following a total loss.

    Two companion bills, AB 1772 and AB 1800, each address different aspects of the Senate bill. AB 1772, authored by Assms. Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) and Cecilia Aguilar-Curry (D-Winters), would give wildfire victims 36 months to rebuild their homes and businesses following a catastrophic wildfire and extend the time policyholders can collect the full amount of the insurance payment. AB 1800, authored by Assemb. Marc Levine, would permit policyholders to collect the full replacement cost of their home after a total loss, even if they opted not to rebuild, decided to replace the home at another location, or purchased a home elsewhere.

    Diana ElrodDiana Elrod, Principal, brings more than 30 years of consulting and public sector experience to her work co-leading LDC’s housing policy and real estate finance team. Before joining LDC, she provided strategic counsel and conducted research on Housing and Community Development for the Cities of Lafayette, Belmont, Palo Alto, San Jose, San Mateo, and the County of Santa Clara. She also has completed seven Housing Elements and eight Consolidated Plans for jurisdictions throughout California. She can be reached at diana@lesardevelopment.com.

    Kris Kuntz, Principal, is passionate about creating innovative solutions to address homelessness. Prior to joining LDC, he performed agency-wide evaluation activities for San Diego’s largest homeless services agency, that included a drop day center, emergency shelter, transitional housing, rapid re-housing, permanent supportive housing, and a federally qualified health center.  He was an integral part of Project 25, San Diego’s successful homeless high utilizer project and worked with Managed Care Organizations to sustain the project after the United Way’s initial investment. To learn more about LDC’s work with homeless assistance systems, contact him at kris@lesardevelopment.com.

     

     

     

     

     

  2. Spotlight on Legislation: Zoning for Supportive Housing

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    Under current Housing Element law, local jurisdictions are required to plan for a wide variety of housing types, including multifamily rental housing, factory-built housing, mobile homes, housing for agricultural employees, supportive housing, single-room occupancy units, emergency shelters, and transitional housing. As defined in California law, “supportive housing” is a type of housing for homeless individuals and families that is linked to services to assist residents in retaining housing, improving residents’ health status, and maximizing residents’ ability to live and, when possible, work in the community. Support services can include a combination of subsidized and permanent housing, intensive case management, medical and mental health care, substance abuse treatment, employment services, and benefits advocacy.

    In addition to requiring communities to plan for a variety of housing types, current law (Government Code Section 65583(a)(5)) additionally requires localities to demonstrate that supportive housing is considered a residential use and subject to only those restrictions that apply to other residential dwellings of the same type in the same zone. In other words, supportive housing should be treated like any other type of housing, subject to the same conditions as other types of housing (usually multifamily). State law suggests that as a land use matter, the occupancy of supportive housing is not relevant to land use decision-making.

    Despite these requirements, developers of supportive housing often find opposition to projects because of concerns—real or perceived—about the residents who will live in these developments. In addition, the planning approval process in many jurisdictions is time-consuming. A bill introduced by Assemblymembers David Chiu and Tom Daly, AB 2162, addresses the urgent need for more supportive housing. The bill would require that supportive housing be approved by-right—that is, without discretionary action such as a conditional use permit—in zones where multifamily and mixed uses are permitted, as long as certain criteria are met. Key requirements include:

    1. Units must be 100 percent affordable to lower-income households.

    2. At least 35 percent of the total units or 15 units must be restricted to residents in supportive housing.

    3. The development is subject to a 55-year affordability restriction.

    4. Nonresidential floor area must be used for on-site supportive services.

    5. Units must have individual bathrooms and kitchens.

    The authors of the bill note that because California is facing a homelessness crisis—with 25 percent of the nation’s homeless population living here—more needs to be done to get people off the streets and into housing with services. The sponsors say the bill will expedite the delivery of supportive housing by requiring developments that are 100 percent affordable and include a percentage of supportive housing units to be approved through a ministerial process. Many cities and nonprofits statewide support the bill, which currently resides with the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

    Diana ElrodDiana Elrod, Principal, brings more than 30 years of consulting and public sector experience to her work co-leading LDC’s housing policy and real estate finance team. Before joining LDC, she provided strategic counsel and conducted research on housing and community development for the cities of Lafayette, Belmont, Palo Alto, San Jose, San Mateo, and the County of Santa Clara. She also has completed housing elements and consolidated plans for jurisdictions throughout California. She can be reached at diana@lesardevelopment.com.

  3. Governor Brown’s Last Budget Invests $5 Billion in Housing

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    Photo of Gov. Brown Signing the 2018 California Budget with State Legislative LeadersWhen Governor Jerry Brown signed the 2018 California State Budget on June 27, he cemented an agreement he made with Democratic legislative leaders earlier in June that will pump $5 billion into programs that aim to increase housing production and reduce homelessness, including a one-time Homeless Emergency Aid Block Grant, first-year funding from SB 2: The Building Homes and Jobs Act, and a variety of programs funded through the Cap and Trade Program.

    Homeless Emergency Aid Block Grant

    The budget allocates $500 million to the Homeless Emergency Aid Block Grant, which will provide jurisdictions with a one-time flexible block grant to tackle immediate challenges related to homelessness. Of these funds, $150 million will be distributed to cities and counties with populations over 330,000 that meet specific requirements based on their regional proportion of the statewide Point-In-Time (PIT) Count. Other jurisdictions will split $250 million based on their homeless populations, with funding ranging from $2 million dollars for jurisdictions with a PIT Count of 250 or fewer people to $60 million for jurisdictions with a PIT count of 4,000-19,999. An additional $100 million will be distributed among Continua of Care with funding proportionate to its percentage of the PIT Count.

    The program will be administered by the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency in consultation with the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council. An additional $500,000 will provide for the expansion and staffing of the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council, which provides guidance on developing a statewide plan to address homelessness issues.

    Cap and Trade

    Since 2014-2015, the Strategic Growth Council (SGC) has received a continuous appropriation equal to 20 percent of the Cap and Trade Expenditure Plan for its Sustainable Communities Program, which facilitates transit-oriented housing and development. The FY 2018-2019 budget include $455 million.

    SB 2: Building Homes and Jobs Act

    The 2018 budget also includes $250 million in first-year funding from SB 2: The Building Homes and Jobs Act, which is expected to generate $250 million annually from a real estate recording fee. Half of the funds will go toward housing and homelessness planning grants. The Emergency Solutions and Housing Program, which will be administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, and Housing for a Health California Program will each receive $57.5 million. An emergency shelter in Orange County and a navigation center in Merced County will each receive $5 million.

    Technical Changes to SB 35

    In addition, SB 850—a housing-related trailer bill necessary to implement the budget—made several clarifying changes to the approval process for affordable multifamily housing projects outlined in SB 35 (Wiener), which was passed as part of the 2017 housing package.  The bill clarifies the percentage of affordable units required for ministerial approval when a locality is not meeting either its moderate-income or its low-income housing allocations, and identifies special flood hazard zones where projects are prohibited from using the streamlining provisions of SB 35. Finally, the bill clarifies that CEQA does not apply to actions taken by a state or local government to provide financial assistance to a development using the streamlining provisions.

    Housing Measures on the November Ballot

    Finally, the FY 2018-2019 budget places two housing-related measures on the November 2018 ballot. Proposition 1, the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act, would authorize a $4 billion general obligation bond to fund affordable housing and the CalVet veterans homeownership program. If passed, the bond would provide $277 million in funding in 2018-2019. Proposition 2, the No Place Like Home bond, would speed up the release of $2 billion in bond funding for supportive housing for individuals with mental illness.

    The following table provides a complete summary of the $5.1 billion in state and federal funds for housing and homelessness programs included in the FY 2018-2019 budget.[1]

    2018-2018 Housing and Homelessness Funding
    (in millions)
    Department Program Amount
    Department of Housing and Community Development Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act Programs (SB3) $277
    No Place Like Home Program $262
    Building Homes and Jobs Fund Programs (SB2) $255
    Federal Funds $122
    Housing for Veterans Funds $75
    Infill Infrastructure Grant Program Reappropriation $51
    Multifamily Housing Program – Supportive Housing $39
    Office of Migrant Services $6
    Housing Related Parks Program Reappropriation $2
    Various $15
    California Housing Finance Agency Single Family 1st Mortgage Lending $1,500
    Multifamily Conduit Lending $300
    Multifamily Lending $200
    Single Family Down Payment Assistance $108
    Special Needs Housing Program $30
    Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council Emergency Homeless Aid Block Grants $500
    Strategic Growth Council Affordable Housing Sustainable Communities $455
    Tax Credit Allocation Committee Low Income Housing Tax Credits (Federal) $259
    Low Income Housing Tax Credits (State) $97
    Farmworker Housing Assistance Tax Credits $3
    Department of Veterans Affairs CalVet Farm and Home Loan Program $264
    Department of Social Services CalWORKS Housing Support Program $71
    CalWORKS Homeless Assistance Program $43
    Senior Home Safe Program $15
    CalWORKS Family Stabilization, Housing Component $3
    Department of Health Care Services Homeless and Mental Illness Program $50
    Whole Person Care Pilot Program, Health Homes Program, Mental Health Services Act Community Services and Supports, California Community Transitions Program N/A
    Office of Emergency Services Domestic Violence Housing First Program $13
    Transitional Housing Program $10
    Domestic Violence Shelters and Services $10
    Specialized Emergency Housing $5
    Homeless Youth and Exploitation Program $2
    Department of Public Health Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) $3
    Housing Plus Program $2
    California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Integrated Services for Mentally-Ill Parolees $3
    Specialized Treatment of Optimized Programming, Parole Service Center, Day Reporting Center, Female Offender Treatment and Employment Program N/A
    Total   $5,050
    [1] State of California. California State Budget – 2018-2019

    Diana ElrodDiana Elrod, Principal, brings more than 30 years of consulting and public sector experience to her work co-leading LDC’s housing policy and real estate finance team. Before joining LDC, she provided strategic counsel and conducted research on Housing and Community Development for the Cities of Lafayette, Belmont, Palo Alto, San Jose, San Mateo, and the County of Santa Clara. She also has completed Housing Elements and Consolidated Plans for jurisdictions throughout California. She can be reached at diana@lesardevelopment.com.

  4. California House, Senate Continue Efforts to Increase Supply of Affordable Housing

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    Picking up where they left off at the end of the 2017 legislative session, California lawmakers in both the House and Senate advanced several bills aimed at increasing the supply of affordable housing. These include efforts to modify laws related to the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) and Housing Element, override local zoning requirements, and produce accessory dwelling units.

    RHNA/Housing Accountability

    SB 828 Land Use: Housing Element, authored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), would require the State’s Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) to address the underproduction of housing.  This bill would require cities and counties to meet 125% of their RHNA requirements in their inventories.  Where that is not possible, cities and counties would be required to identify ways in which it will accommodate their RHNA, such as through rezoning. HCD would be required to complete a comprehensive assessment on the unmet needs for each region, and include the results of the assessment in regional allocations for the next housing element cycle. HCD would have to establish a methodology for the comprehensive assessment on unmet need that considers median rent or home prices and, in communities with high rates of income growth, sets a high rate of new housing production for all income levels to ensure equity and stabilize home prices. SB 828 would also prohibit a Council of Government (COG) from underestimating allocations for local jurisdictions based on predicted additional unmet need allocations.  This bill would require the final regional housing need plan to reflect equitable allocations for housing of all income levels, and not demonstrate disparities that promote racial or wealth disparities throughout a region.

    SB 1771 Planning and Zoning: Regional Housing Needs Assessment, authored by Sen. Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), would require jurisdictions to adopt long-term plans that address the development of land not only inside their jurisdiction, but in some cases, outside local boundaries as well.  As is currently the law, COGs would be required to create and adopt a “Final Regional Housing Needs Allocation Plan,” but which would now  be required to allocate housing needs according to certain specified objectives, including doing so in an equitable manner by dispersing housing typologies, affordability levels, and housing tenure  (whether owner or rental) across the region. It would also revise many of the current requirements of the RHNA plan.  Plans would be required to further objectives, rather than simply be consistent with them as is currently required.  COGs would be required to include data showing both the number of low-wage jobs within a jurisdiction as well as the number of housing units which are affordable to those workers.  In addition, COGs will be required to project the number of low wage workers and the number of housing units needed to house them during the planning period.   This would be a new focus on existing and projected demand, replacing the previous requirement to respond to housing demand. It would also limit the grounds upon which a jurisdiction could appeal to the COG to these three: the methodology was not informed by survey information submitted by the jurisdiction; the jurisdiction has undergone significant and unforeseen changes; and, the methodology used to calculate the RHNA was in violation of state law.

    AB 3194 Housing Accountability Act: Project Approval, authored by Assemblymember Tom Daly (D-Santa Ana), would prohibit a jurisdiction from disapproving, or placing infeasible conditions upon, a development of very low-income, low-income, or moderate-income housing (including emergency shelters), unless a preponderance of the evidence shows that the development would have a “specific, adverse impact upon the public health or safety.”  The State of California defines “preponderance of the evidence” as evidence that outweighs, not in its quantity but rather in its effect, the evidence of the other side.[1]  In 2017, AB 1515 (Daly) added the requirement for “substantial evidence,” which is defined as “being of ponderable legal significance,” and “which is reasonable in nature, credible, and of solid value.”[2] The proposed requirement for a preponderance of the evidence is a higher standard and could result in a higher number of housing developments being covered by the Housing Accountability Act (HAA). If approved, this bill would impart the protections of the HAA to projects that are both inconsistent with zoning and consistent with the objective general plan standards. Such projects would be deemed approved without having been rezoned.

    Overriding Local Zoning Requirements

    AB 2923 San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District: Transit-Oriented Development, introduced by Assemblymembers David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Timothy Grayson (D-Concord) and coauthored by Kevin Mullin (D-San Mateo), Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), and Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), would require the board of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) to adopt new TOD guidelines for certain BART-owned land.  The new guidelines would establish minimum zoning requirements for land within 1/2 mile of a current or future BART entrance, on contiguous parcels that are at least .25 acres in size.  The bill would also require the board to adopt streamlining measures for TOD projects, and require that projects within these areas include 20 percent affordable housing. The effect of this bill, if approved, could be that jurisdictions where BART stations are located would have little control over what is built in their communities.

    SB 827 Planning and Zoning: Transit-Rich Housing Bonus, authored by Sen. Wiener (D-San Francisco), the bill would have promoted multi-family housing near transit. Among other things, SB 827 would have allowed developers to circumvent zoning in transit areas, and build to height, parking, and density levels that exceed zoning limits. The proposed height limit would have been five stories in areas within a half mile of a transit or subway station, and developers would also have benefited from reduced parking and density restrictions. Advocates of the bill purported it to be a nail in the coffin of residential racial segregation, forcing housing into neighborhoods that were historically zoned low-density in order to perpetuate the segregation of race and class.  The bill failed to pass in the Committee on Transportation and Housing.

    Accessory Dwelling Unit Requirements

    Interior view of an accessory dwelling unitAB 2890, authored by Sen. Ting (D-San Francisco), would require local jurisdictions to consider permit applications for ADUs within 60 days of receipt.  Current law allows jurisdictions up to 120 days to consider such permits.  It would also require that jurisdictions that condition permits on owner-occupancy to not monitor those units more than once per year. This bill would expand the law to allow for ministerial approval of ADUs on both single-family and multifamily lots, and prohibit certain requirements such as lot coverage standards, minimum lot size, and floor area ratio. If passed, HCD would be required to proposed small building standards by 2020, which would provide further oversight into  local ordinances.  If an ordinance is found to be in violation of the law, HCD could additionally notify the Attorney General.

    SB 831 Land Use: Accessory Dwelling Units, introduced by Sen. Wieckowski (D-Fremont) and coauthored by Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), and Sen. Wiener (D-San Francisco), would require jurisdictions to designate, in their ADU ordinances, any areas where ADUs would be excluded because of certain health and safety concerns.  It would delete the authority to include lot coverage standards.  It would also prohibit jurisdictions from taking the square footage of the proposed ADU into account when determining the allowable FAR or lot coverage. In addition, a permit for the development of an ADU would be automatically approved if not considered within 60 days of its submittal.  It would prohibit requirements to replace off-street parking that is lost due to the development of an ADU. It would also prohibit the use of any other local policy, ordinance, or regulation as a means to inhibit the development of ADUs. This bill would not only prohibit local ordinances from owner-occupancy conditions, but also make void any such existing requirements. It would also prohibit a jurisdiction from considering an ADU as a “new residential use,” for purposes of determining fees.  School fees would be an exception; however, they would be limited to $3,000.

    Artemis Spyridonidis, Senior Associate, covers housing policy issues, including structural solutions to the housing affordability crisis, consolidated plans, housing elements, accessory dwelling unit policy implementation, and regional issues across the state of California. For information about linkage fees and other housing policy issues, contact Artemis Spyridonidis, at artemis@lesardevelopment.com.

    [1] Glage v. Hawes Firearms Co. (1990), 226 Cal.App.3d 314, 325, quoting People v. Miller (1916), 171 Cal. 6149, 652.

    [2] Kuhn v. Department of General Services, (1994) 22 Cal.App.4th 1627, 1633, 29 Cal.Rptr.2d 191; Mohilef v. Janovici, (1996) 51 Cal.App.4th 267, 305, fn. 28, 58 Cal.Rptr.2d 721.

  5. Requiem for SB 827

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    Image of baby grand piano in shadowSB 827 died April 17, 2018, in the Senate’s Transportation and Housing Committee. Authored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), the bill would have promoted multi-family housing near transit. Supporters claimed it would have been a nail in the coffin of residential racial segregation, forcing housing into neighborhoods that were historically zoned low-density in order to perpetuate the segregation of race and class.

    Other similar bills have been successful in the recent past.  The state legislature has already begun to approve bills that have slowly chipped away at the powers of local government to deter the development of housing. SB 1069 (Wieckowski; codified as Cal. Gov. 65582.1), §AB 2299 (Bloom; codified as Cal. Gov. Code §65852.2) and AB 2406 (Thurmond; codified as Cal. Gov. Code §65852.22), which went into effect on January 1, 2017, prohibit local jurisdictions from barring the production of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). On January 1, 2018, both SB 35 and SB 166 became effective.  SB 35 (Wiener; codified as Cal. Gov. Code §65400) penalizes certain jurisdictions that have not met their RHNA assessments by eliminating multiple local planning reviews and creating a streamlined, ministerial approval process for certain infill developments. (See “Bay Area Begins to Feel Effect of SB 35”). SB 166 (Skinner; codified as Cal. Gov. Code §65863), prohibits local governments, in most situations, from permitting a project at a rate lower than the already-established density allows.

    Similarly, but certainly with more severe repercussions, SB 827 would have allowed developers to circumvent zoning in transit areas, and build to height, parking, and density levels that exceed zoning limits. The proposed height limit would have been five stories in areas within a half mile of a transit or subway station, and developers would also have benefited from reduced parking and density restrictions. The bill also provided that projects within a half mile of “high-quality” bus lines offering service at 15-minute intervals or more frequently during peak times would benefit from reduced parking and density restrictions, but not the new height limit.

    Opponents claimed that it would ruin neighborhoods, devalue homes, allow incongruous development, and unfairly create a strain on infrastructure and transportation. Proponents claimed that the increase in units would drive down rents, giving renters a sigh of relief, and a greater swatch of neighborhoods from which to choose. With the third-lowest homeownership rate in the country after D.C. and New York, California clearly needs more housing. Currently, only 55% of Californians own their home. SB 827 may have been laid to rest, but we undoubtedly need to continue to pursue ways to increase development throughout the state.

    Artemis Spyridonidis, Senior Associate, covers housing policy issues, including structural solutions to the housing affordability crisis, consolidated plans, housing elements, accessory dwelling unit policy implementation, and regional issues across the state of California. For information about linkage fees and other housing policy issues, contact Artemis Spyridonidis, at artemis@lesardevelopment.com.

  6. Bay Area Begins to Feel Effect of SB 35

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    Developers across the Bay Area have begun to leverage SB 35, one of the bills in the 2017 Housing Package, to accelerate housing production for households at all income levels across California. Authored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) SB 35 provides for a streamlined and ministerial approval process for developments in jurisdictions that have failed to meet their Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) goals. To take advantage of SB 35, the development must be proposed for an infill site, comply with existing residential and mixed-use zoning, allocate at least 10% percent of its units to affordable housing, and conform to the prevailing union wage.[1]

    In March, Blake Griggs Properties became one of the first developers to invoke SB 35 for a 260-unit housing project in Berkeley which has been delayed for almost five years by a lengthy environmental review. The proposed multifamily residential project would replace a parking lot and earmark 50% of the projected units for lower-income housing.[2]

    Sand Hill Property Company, another Bay Area developer, has used SB 35 to streamline the approval process for a redevelopment plan envisioned for the derelict Vallco Shopping Mall in Cupertino. The proposed project is a mixed-use complex that promises to set aside two-thirds of its development area to housing, and also designate half the projected 2,400 multifamily units as affordable housing. SB 35 requires the City of Cupertino to respond to the developer’s proposal within 180 days.[3]

    San Francisco-based nonprofit Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) also invoked SB 35 to build a 130-unit, 100% affordable housing project in San Francisco’s Mission District. Once a critic of SB 35, MEDA is now hoping that the law will override, or at least expedite, San Francisco’s cumbersome entitlement process for the proposed project.[4]

    While proponents are hoping that SB 35 would break through legislative barriers, cut lengthy approval processes, and trigger construction of badly needed affordable housing, critics have voiced concern that SB 35 decreases the authority of local governments over land use, deprives local communities of their rights to oppose a project, and increases the extent of state intervention in local affairs. Moreover, in many communities, the new development’s conformance with “neighborhood character” is still a controversial issue. Affordable housing advocates, MEDA included, render SB 35 as a “one-size-fits-all” policy, arguing that the bill requires a scant amount of affordable housing and it may even cause displacement and gentrification in low-income neighborhoods.[5]

    Artemis Spyridonidis, Senior Associate, covers housing policy issues, including structural solutions to the housing affordability crisis, consolidated plans, housing elements, accessory dwelling unit policy implementation, and regional issues across the state of California. For information about linkage fees and other housing policy issues, contact Artemis Spyridonidis, at artemis@lesardevelopment.com.

    [1] Leginfo, “Senate Bill No. 35,” Published on September 29,2017. Date of Access 04-24-2018. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB35. And, California Department of Housing and Community Development, “California’s 2017 Housing Package,” 2017, Date of Access 04-24-2018. http://www.hcd.ca.gov/policy-research/lhp.shtml

    [2] San Francisco Business Times, “Stalled for five years, 260-unit Berkeley housing project will be California’s first to use streamlined approvals,” Published March 8, 2018. Date of Access: 04-26-2018. https://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2018/03/08/berkeley-housing-affordable-sb35-approval-wiener.html

    [3] Vallco Town Center, “The Future of Vallco,” April 2018, Date of Access: 04-25-2018. http://revitalizevallco.com

    [4] San Francisco Chronicle,” Mission housing project invokes law to exchange review for affordable units,” Published on April 7, 2018. Date of Access 04-24-2018. https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Mission-housing-project-invokes-law-to-exchange-12815332.php

    [5] Ibid.

  7. State Lawmakers Continue Push for ADU Development

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    ADU demonstration at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation on Oct. 26th 2017.

    Two years ago, in an effort to increase the housing supply statewide, California state lawmakers began laying the legislative foundation to stimulate the development of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs. Defined by California State law to be secondary units, ADUs are typically built on a single-family home lot and smaller than the primary dwelling; according to state law, they cannot exceed the lesser of 50 percent of the square footage of the primary home, or 1200 square feet. While ADUs are not explicitly defined as affordable housing, available data suggests that the permanent expansion of the rental housing stock through ADUs can lead to a reduction in prices in a given area.  This is due in part to their size and to not having to pay for land to build the unit.

    The first bills Assembly Bill 2299/Senate Bill 1069, which were signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2016, relaxed ADU requirements by nullifying existing local ordinances and giving jurisdictions 60 days to adopt new ordinances in compliance with the law. ADU laws were further clarified in September 2017 when Gov. Brown signed Senate Bill 229/Assembly Bill 494 into law. Together, the four bills focused specifically on streamlining the approval process and easing construction standards for ADUs.

    Since these laws went into effect, California has seen the greatest increase in ADU permits issued nationwide. The Legislature’s first set of ADU bills went into effect in January 2017, and the following year saw 4,352 building permits issued, a 63% increase over the previous year. Both Los Angeles and San Francisco were among the top five metropolitan areas issuing the highest number of permits, with 1,475 and 1,007, respectively.

    These gains reflect substantial changes to building codes in many California regions. Recently, the County of Los Angeles implemented a pilot program that allowed homeowners to receive up to $75,000 for building an ADU, as well as implementing a streamlined permitting process. These incentives are conditional on renting the ADU to the formerly homeless, an effort to increase development and address the region’s homelessness crisis. San Francisco has spent the past several years removing barriers to ADU development and now has some of the most relaxed requirements. Notably, San Francisco is one of the few cities that allows ADU development on multi-family lots.

    Promoting ADU Development, Enforcing Local Compliance

    While California is leading the way on ADUs, lawmakers are continuing to remove barriers to ADU development. In January 2018, Sen. Wieckowski (D-Fremont) along with Sens. Atkins (D-San Diego) and Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced SB 831, which creates “carrots” to promote ADU development and “sticks” for local jurisdictions that unlawfully disapprove them. If passed, the law would allow ADUs to be built in more zones, incur fewer fees, and be permitted more easily. It would also empower the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and the courts to address local jurisdictions that inappropriately refrain to act on or erroneously disapprove ADU applications.

    Carrots

    ADUs in More Zones: This bill would eliminate the requirement that ADUs be built in single-family or multifamily zones only.

    Fewer Fees: If passed, ADUs would no long be treated as “new construction” for the purpose of collecting fees, and therefore would not incur new construction impact fees, connection fees, capacity charges, or any other new construction fees levied by a local agency, special district, or water corporation. This change would be especially impactful in jurisdictions with high ADU permitting fees, such as San Diego, where fees can be as high as $28,000.

    Streamlined Permitting: This bill would prohibit local jurisdictions from requiring owner occupancy by the permit applicant. It would prohibit off-street parking requirements for ADUs that are created through the demolition of a garage, carport, or covered parking.  If a jurisdiction fails to act on an application within 120 days, that application will be deemed approved.  Prohibit consideration of the square footage of the proposed ADU when calculating allowable FAR on the lot.

     Sticks                                               

    Written Findings: HCD would be authorized to submit written findings to the local jurisdiction regarding whether or not the local ordinance complies with the law.

    Court Judgments and Fines: If a Court finds that a local jurisdiction acted in violation of the law when it disapproved or conditioned a permit, the Court may issue an order requiring the local jurisdiction to come into compliance within 60 days. The court may even issue an order requiring the local jurisdiction to take action on a specific ADU permit application. Jurisdictions that don’t comply within 60 days may be fined, and any fines collected would be used to fund the local housing trust fund in the Building Homes and Jobs Trust Fund.

    Artemis Spyridonidis covers housing policy issues, including structural solutions to the housing affordability crisis, consolidated plans, housing elements, accessory dwelling unit policy implementation, and regional issues across the state of California. For information about ADUs and other housing alternatives, contact Artemis Spyridonidis, at artemis@lesardevelopment.com.

  8. How Will the 2017 Housing Package Affect 2018?

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    Colorado Court Apartments, affordable housing in Santa Monica, CAOf the 130 housing-related bills introduced last year, 15 were approved and signed into law by Gov. Brown.  As we look forward to 2018, we’ve examined how some of these bills might be catalysts for change in 2018.  In particular, we examined SB35, Senator Wiener’s streamlining bill; SB40, Senator Roth’s Workforce Housing Opportunity Zone (WHOZ) bill; and, AB1397, Assemblymember Low’s bill addressing housing element inventory.

    SB35 (Wiener) is a measure that streamlines certain multifamily housing project approvals, at the request of the developer, in jurisdictions that have not met their Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) requirements or have not submitted housing elements for two consecutive years.

    Qualifying developments must meet the following requirements: (1) be in an urbanized area (population of 50,000 or more) or an urban cluster (population 2,500 – 50,000); (2) have at least 75 percent of its perimeter adjoining parcels that are already developed as urban uses; and, (3) be zoned residential or mixed-use, with at least 2/3 of the square footage dedicated for residential use. Several exclusions, including excluded land use designations, apply.

    SB 540 (Roth) establishes “Workforce Housing Opportunity Zones” (WHOZs).  Jurisdictions that opt in will encourage the development of affordable housing near jobs and transit by creating zones where planning, environmental review, and public input is completed through Specific Plans.  Developments within Specific Plan areas will benefit in that they will require neither CEQA review nor discretionary review. In 2018, we’ll see jurisdictions begin to develop specific plans in order to take advantage of this program and incentivize the development of affordable housing.

    AB 1397 (Low) makes changes to how governments comprise their housing element site inventories.  For instance, parcels must have sufficient water, sewer, and utilities in order to be counted.  Sites that are now vacant will now need to overcome certain restrictions in order to be included.  And, sites must be “available” for residential development, or show that they have “realistic and demonstrated” potential to be developed.

    Artemis Spyridonidis covers housing policy issues, including structural solutions to the housing affordability crisis, consolidated plans, housing elements, accessory dwelling unit policy implementation, and regional issues across the state of California.

    To learn more about LDC’s policy services, contact Artemis Spyridonidis, Senior Associate, at artemis@lesardevelopment.com.

  9. State Housing Package Passed by Legislature, Gov. Brown

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    Gov. Brown gave affordable housing advocates statewide a reason to celebrate when he signed a package of housing bills into law into September 2017. SB2, The Building Homes and Jobs Act, creates a dedicated and permanent source of funding that will provide approximately $250 million annually for affordable housing development by imposing a $75 fee on specific real estate transactions.  In 2018, 50 percent of the funds collected will be made available for governments seeking to update their planning and zoning documents.   The other 50 percent will be dedicated to homelessness services.  California’s Department of Housing and Community Development expects to release a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) to release these funds in 2018. Local governments can begin to plan now by identifying any planning and/or zoning documents that may need updating before the NOFA is released. For 2019 and subsequent years, the funding will support affordable housing development.

    SB 3, the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018, was authorized to be placed on the November 2018 ballot.  If passed, it will provide $4 billion for veterans housing and affordable housing throughout the state.  Eligible uses of these funds will include Multifamily Housing, Transit-Oriented Rental Housing, the Infill Incentive Grant Program, the Local Housing Trust Fund Matching Grant Program, the CalHOME Program, and the CalVet Home Loan Program.

    Finally, AB 1505, the “Palmer Fix” bill, makes it legal for jurisdictions to apply Inclusionary Zoning ordinances to not only for-sale developments, but also rental projects. We will continue to track the implementation of these bills and welcome the opportunity to help you align your efforts with forthcoming state regulations and funding opportunities

    Artemis Spyridonidis covers housing policy issues, including structural solutions to the housing affordability crisis, consolidated plans, housing elements, accessory dwelling unit policy implementation, and regional issues across the state of California.

    To learn more about LDC’s housing policy services, contact Artemis Spyridonidis, Senior Associate, at artemis@lesardevelopment.com.

  10. Realigning Regulations to Boost Housing Production

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    California has a long history of enacting land use policies and practices to curtail urban sprawl and protect the environment, but some of the policies intended to promote sustainable growth have instead stifled housing development and constrained local economies. While there is widespread recognition that existing regulations have contributed to the crisis, local governments have few incentives to bring about change. The recently approved housing package, which includes several measures to reverse the unintended consequences of outmoded regulations, represents a critical step in removing barriers to housing development.

    Currently, permitting for new development takes one-third longer in California’s coastal areas than in the average American city, which significantly increases development costs, says Carol Galante, housing policy expert at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley.[1] Conversely, streamlined land use policies can position developers to better leverage limited financial resources and increase connectivity between housing and transportation, jobs, and amenities.

    SB 35 (Wiener), one of the legislative session’s key housing bills, aims to speed up housing production by eliminating multiple planning reviews for infill projects in cities that have fallen short of their Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) targets. Other projects that meet certain affordability, density, and zoning requirements will also qualify for streamlined approval. By streamlining the approval process, lawmakers seek to eliminate the costs of time-consuming and costly legal challenges that have kept supply from responding elastically to demand.

    A second historically underutilized strategy to reduce regulatory delays and costs related to CEQA is the Program Environmental Impact Review (PEIR). Often implemented under a General Plan, a Community Plan update, or a specific plan for a targeted redevelopment area, a PEIR generally establishes a framework for “tiered” or project-level environmental documents that are prepared in accordance with the overall program. For tiering to occur, a community first has to designate high-priority neighborhoods for economic growth and construction and adopt a plan for those areas with full initial CEQA review. Having an approved PEIR in place reduces project-specific uncertainties, and may also reduce the risk of project delays from duplicative lawsuits aimed at derailing plans and projects that have completed the CEQA process.

    A PEIR can be used to simplify the task of preparing environmental documents on projects that are within the same geographic area, have generally similar environmental effects and mitigation needs, and are carried out under the same regulatory agency.  This approach can expedite permitting by focusing subsequent environmental reviews on project-specific design features. For example, if a mixed-use development project would create a significant traffic impact, a planner can attempt to tier off a Program EIR that covers the project site within a specific plan, and utilize the discussion, data, analysis, and mitigation measures from the PEIR to reduce the potential traffic impact of the project.

    For example, SB 540 will authorize local jurisdictions to establish Workforce Housing Opportunity Zones by preparing an EIR and adopting a specific plan. For 5 years after a plan is adopted, local jurisdictions would not have been able to deny entitlement for any development proposed within the specific zoning area and would also have waived requirements for an EIR or negative declaration if the project satisfied certain criteria.

    Several additional laws clarify existing Housing Element law, which require each community to produce their fair share of housing at each income level. Specifically, SB 166 prohibits communities from permitting units at a capacity lower than what is needed to meet their RHNA assessment for lower- and moderate-income households, and AB 1397 establishes higher standards for determining whether sites are suitable for development. In addition, AB 879 requires local governments to conduct more in-depth analysis of development constraints. Under the new law, local governments will be required to analyze the impact of local ordinances on the cost and supply of residential development, as well as requests to develop housing at lower densitites and other factors.

    These laws reflect recommendations from several key studies and policy “toolkits,”[2] which outline a series of strategies that, when implemented together, can boost housing production and promote economic growth. These strategies can also be customized to reflect the specific needs of a community.

    If you are interested in developing customized strategies to address your community’s needs, please contact Artemis Spyridonidis, Senior Associate, at artemis@lesardevelopment.com.

    LeSar-Artemis-square webArtemis Spyridonidis covers housing policy issues, including structural solutions to the housing affordability crisis, consolidated plans, housing elements, accessory dwelling unit policy implementation, and regional issues across the state of California.

    [1] Carol Galante, “Why By-Right Affordable Housing in California is the Right Thing to Do.”  Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley (May 24, 2016).

    [2] Recent, notable reports include McKinsey Global Institute’s “Closing California’s Housing Gap” (October 2016) and The White House Housing Development Toolkit (September 2016)