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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Housing Bills Passed by California Legislature

Both Marie Hammond and Barbara Gibson provided this list of housing bills passed by the California Legislature this session. The list was produced by the California Association of Realtors.

Legislature Passes Bill Package to Address Housing Crisis
As the first year of the 2017-18 legislative session drew to a close, the Legislature passed a package of bills to address the California Housing Crisis. The bills that passed are intended to streamline new housing developments, enforce the Housing Accountability Act, and provide a permanent source of funding for affordable housing projects. Each of the bills listed below were part of the housing package, were supported by C.A.R., and have passed both houses of the legislature awaiting final approval by the Governor.

AB 72 (Santiago and Chiu) Enforcement of California Housing Laws – The Housing Accountability Act (HAA) only permits a local government to deny a proposed housing development that complies with general plan and zoning standards if the project would adversely impact public health or safety. AB 72 grants the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) the authority to find a local government’s housing element out of substantial compliance and requires the HCD to refer those violations to the attorney general. AB 72 would allow for greater enforcement of the HAA.

AB 73 (Chiu) Housing Sustainability Districts – AB 73 would permit developers to voluntarily use an alternate project approval process in a housing sustainability district. Local governments would be incentivized to create these districts and to approve developments “by-right” if 20% of the units are reserved for affordable housing.

AB 678 (Bocanegra) and SB 167 (Skinner) Housing Accountability Act (HAA) Expansion and Enforcement – These bills would ensure that local agencies cannot disapprove housing projects without a preponderance of evidence proving that the project adversely impacts public health or safety. Local governments that fail to comply with the HAA would be subject to fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 per unit. AB 678 and SB 167 seek to strengthen the HAA and bring much needed housing relief to the state’s working families.

AB 879 (Grayson) Housing Element: Developers – The Planning and Zoning Law requires a city or county to adopt a general plan for land use development within its boundaries that includes, among other things, a housing element. This bill would require the housing element to include an analysis of potential and actual nongovernmental constraints upon housing development. AB 879 seeks to identify solutions to the state’s housing crisis using the housing element planning process.

SB 2 (Atkins) Recording Tax – SB 2 seeks to fund affordable housing by imposing a flat $75 per document recording fee on every real estate instrument not part of a sales transaction. The fee would be capped at $225 per transaction and coordinated with other revenue sources. SB 2 would ensure that the fee will not burden home purchase transactions and dedicates 20% of the funds generated to affordable workforce ownership. SB 2 was amended to direct 70% of revenues to local governments using the block grant formula used by HUD.

SB 35 (Wiener) Streamlining Affordable Housing Production – SB 35 would create a streamlined “by-right” approval process for infill projects with two or more residential units or Accessory Dwelling Units in localities that have failed to produce sufficient housing to meet their Regional Housing Needs Assessment goals, provided that the project: 1) is not located in a hazard zone (e.g., flood, fire, earthquake, etc.); 2) dedicates 10% of the units to households making at or below 80% of the area median income, and 3) pays prevailing wage to projects over 10 units.

SB 540 (Roth) Workforce Housing Opportunity Zones – This bill would authorize local governments to establish Workforce Housing Opportunity Zones by preparing an Environmental Impact Report pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act. SB 540 would prohibit local governments from denying developments proposed within that zone for 5 years, provided that the developments contain affordable housing (i.e., 30% for moderate-income households, 15% for lower-income households and 5% for very low-income households) and meet all other specified requirements. Finally, SB 540 would require local governments to approve, or disapprove, a housing development located within the zone within 60 days of the submission of a completed development application. SB 540 would limit unnecessary regulatory costs while speeding up the development process and increasing the enforcement of state housing laws.

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