California Housing Advocates Closely Watching Bay Area Rezoning Deadline

California’s reaction to cities that fail to submit compliant zoning plans could reverberate across the state as other regions near their deadlines.

1 minute read

January 30, 2024, 12:00 PM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of suburban Fremont, California.

The city of Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area. | Rich / Adobe Stock

A key deadline for California cities could shape the future of housing in the state. As Ben Christopher explains in CALmatters, dozens of San Francisco Bay Area cities must submit zoning plans by January 31 that adapt their zoning codes to lower barriers to multifamily construction as part of the state’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA).

The statewide policy comes with a series of rolling regional deadlines, with the Bay Area’s January deadline serving as an important test case. “Whether Bay Area local governments comply — and how the state responds to those that don’t — could indicate just how seriously the Newsom administration takes its ambitious housing goals.”

Christopher explains the RHNA process, which has been used by the state for decades but only recently gained teeth. Now, localities without a compliant housing element and zoning code that support housing production that meets local needs face legal and financial penalties. “Included among the possible penalties listed in state law are cuts in state funding for affordable housing and transportation.” In some cases, developers can use a law known as the ‘Builder’s Remedy’ to bypass zoning regulations in noncompliant cities when they include affordable units in their projects.

Thursday, January 25, 2024 in CALmatters

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Street scene in Greenwich Village, New York City with people walking through busy intersection and new WTC tower in background.

Planning for Accessibility: Proximity is More Important than Mobility

Accessibility-based planning minimizes the distance that people must travel to reach desired services and activities. Measured this way, increased density can provide more total benefits than increased speeds.

April 14, 2024 - Todd Litman

Wood-frame two-story rowhouses under construction.

Fair Housing Cannot Take a Back Seat to ‘Build, Baby, Build’

If we overlook fair housing principles in the plan to build US housing back better, we risk ending up right back where we started.

April 11, 2024 - James Jennings

"No 710" lawn sign on green lawn.

LA Metro Board Approves New 710 Freeway Plan

The newest plan for the 710 corridor claims it will not displace any residents.

April 22 - Streetsblog LA

Close-up of row of electric cars plugged into chargers at outdoor station.

Austin’s Proposed EV Charging Rules Regulate Station Locations, Size

City planners say the new rules would ensure an efficient distribution of charging infrastructure across the city and prevent an overconcentration in residential areas.

April 22 - Austin Monitor

Green hills with orange California poppies in bloom in foreground in Chino Hills State Park, California.

Making California State Parks More Climate-Resilient

A recently released report offers recommendations for keeping state parks healthy and robust, including acquiring additional land for conservation and recreation.

April 22 - Spectrum News 1

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

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.