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.
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.
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