California's 15 Housing Bills Won't Do Enough

At a new affordable housing project in a low-income neighborhood of San Francisco, Gov. Brown signed the package Friday that places a $4 billion housing bond on the ballot next year, adds a $75 real estate transaction fee, and streamlines permitting.
October 2, 2017, 7am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"The governor signed the legislation surrounded by lawmakers and advocates at Hunters Viewa $450-million project that is redeveloping what was once crumbling public housing into new homes for 700 low- and middle-income families," reports Liam Dillon from Bayview-Hunters Point on Friday for the Los Angeles Times. "Speakers at the ceremony hailed the package of bills as a sea change in how the state handles housing issues."

Among the speakers was South Bay Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), chief author of AB 1397 which "strengthens state planning laws to ensure local governments are doing everything they can to identify sites that are truly suitable for both affordable and market-rate housing," according to Low's press release on the 15 bills signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday.

"As a millennial, as a former mayor and a state legislator, I can not afford a single-family-home in the community that I work and represent," stated Low in his video of the bill-signing event. He added that the 15-bill package was significant for all generations.

"Still, the array of new laws Brown signed Friday will hardly put a dent in the state’s housing problems," adds Dillon. "Developers need to build about 100,000 new homes each year beyond what’s already planned, simply to keep pace with California’s population growth."

Three senate bills, SB 2, 3, and 35, received the most media attention. Other bills signed previously covered by Planetizen:

The remaining eight bills are among the 90 bills signed by Brown from Tuesday through Friday listed by Renee Schiavone of Patch:

  • SB 540 (Roth) streamlines the environmental review process for certain local affordable housing projects.
  • AB 72 (Santiago/Chiu) strengthens the state's ability to enforce laws that require local governments to achieve housing goals.
  • AB 73 (Chiu) gives local governments incentives to create housing on infill sites near public transportation.
  • AB 571 (E. Garcia) makes it easier to develop farmworker housing by easing qualifications for the Farmworker Housing Tax Credit.
  • AB 678 (Bocanegra) increases the standard of proof required for a local government to justify its denial of low- to moderate-income housing development projects. (AB 678 is identical to the aforementioned SB 167, the Housing Accountability Act)
  • AB 879 (Grayson) authorizes a study of local fees charged to new residential developments that will also include a proposal to substantially reduce such fees.
  • AB 1515 (Daly) allows housing projects to be afforded the protections of the Housing Accountability Act if the project is consistent with local planning rules despite local opposition.
  • AB 1521 (Bloom/Chiu) gives experienced housing organizations a first right of refusal to purchase affordable housing developments in order to keep the units affordable.

Hat tip to Gladwyn D' Souza.

Full Story:
Published on Friday, September 29, 2017 in Los Angeles Times
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