California Housing Bills Streamline Affordable Housing

A series of current and proposed bills are paving the way for more affordable housing production in the state, where environmental laws are often deployed to delay or block new development.

1 minute read

September 20, 2023, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Close-up of top of California state capitol dome with U.S. and California flags flying and blue sky in background.

Sundry Photography / Adobe Stock

Despite a lack of public fanfare, writes Ben Christopher in CALmatters, “with the end of the legislative session last week, California is now on the verge of laying down a welcome mat for most major affordable housing projects across the state.”

Christopher explains that a patchwork of new and old legislation now encourages the construction of “any flavor of affordable housing you could possibly want to build,” according to Linda Mandolini, president of Eden Housing. “Many of the California bills build on a law passed last year that streamlines affordable housing construction along commercial corridors.”

One bill still awaiting passage, Assembly Bill 1449, “would exempt certain affordable apartment developments from review under CEQA.” With this bill, developers should, in theory, be able to build on almost all viable sites in California by-right.

The source article describes several other bills recently signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom or still awaiting his signature, all aimed at reducing barriers to housing construction. Altogether, they signal a reevaluation of environmental review laws that often become a tool for blocking development.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023 in CALmatters

Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25, 2024 - Fox 59

View of 110 freeway with downtown Los Angeles buildings in background.

LA Freeway Ramp ‘Quietly Canceled’

A 2018 lawsuit forced Metro and Caltrans to do full environmental reviews of the project, leading to its cancellation.

February 29, 2024 - Streetsblog LA

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25, 2024 - Wired

Grey concrete curb ramp with small bumps for the visually impaired.

Understanding Accessibility in the Public Right-of-Way

A ‘best practices’ manual guides accessibility on streets and sidewalks, but remains legally unenforceable.

8 minutes ago - Streetsblog USA

Aerial view of mid-density neighborhod in Newark, New Jersey.

Newark Kicks Off $1 Home Sale Program

The city sold seven properties as part of an effort to revive blighted sites and encourage housing production.

1 hour ago - Smart Cities Dive

Blue and white Pittsburgh bike share bikes lined up at a station with a red city bus on street in background.

Micromobility Operators Call for Better Links to Transit

For shared mobility to succeed, systems must tap into the connectivity and funding potential offered by closer collaboration with public transit.

March 4 - GovTech

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.