September 2017 Housing Package

Despite waiting until the last minute, the Legislature ultimately passed a package of housing bills to the governor which he is expected to sign. SB 2 was the most contentious measure with concerns expressed about the funding source and whether members’ districts would reap the benefits of the bill. It was passed on a partisan basis except for Assemblyman Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego) who voted for it and Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes (D-Riverside) who voted against.

This measure has been contained in various iterations for the last six years. After Senator Atkins amended the measure to return additional funding to local governments, one of the additional sweeteners that may have helped obtain the votes was AB 166 (Salas), which would have authorized low- and very low-income property owners to claim a hardship refund of fees paid in connection with SB 2. The measure moved through part of the legislative process the last couple days of session, but did not make it to the governor’s desk. Housing measures included in the final package are the following:

SB 2 (Atkins) Building Homes and Jobs Act – establishes the Building Homes and Jobs Act and imposes a $75 fee on real estate transaction documents, excluding commercial and residential real estate sales, to provide funding for affordable housing.

SB 3 (Beall) Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond –enacts the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018 and authorizes the issuance of $4 billion in general obligation bonds for affordable housing programs and a veteran’s home ownership program, subject to approval by the voters in the November 6, 2018 election.

SB 35 (Wiener) Planning and zoning: affordable housing: streamlined approval process –creates a streamlined, ministerial approval process for infill developments in localities that have failed to meet their regional housing needs assessment numbers.

SB 166 (Skinner) Residential density and affordability – This bill requires that a local jurisdiction accommodate its remaining unmet need at all times throughout the housing element planning period.

SB 167 (Skinner) Housing Accountability Act – makes several changes to the Housing Accountability Act.

SB 540 (Roth) Workforce Opportunity Zones – authorizes a city or county to establish a Workforce Housing Opportunity Zone (WHOZ) by preparing an environmental impact report (EIR) to identify and mitigate impacts from establishing a WHOZ and adopting a specific plan. A local government must approve a housing development within the WHOZ that meets specified criteria, and no project-level EIR or a negative environmental declaration would be required on a development within a WHOZ that meets specified criteria.

AB 72 (Santiago) Attorney General: enforcement: housing laws – gives the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) authority to find a local government’s housing element out of substantial compliance if it determines that the local government acts or fails to act in compliance with its housing element, and allows HCD to refer violations of law to the Attorney General.

AB 73 (Chiu) Planning and zoning: housing sustainability districts – allows a city or county to create a housing sustainability district to complete upfront zoning and environmental review in order to receive incentive payments for development projects that are consistent with the district’s ordinance.

AB 571 (Garcia, E) Farmworker Housing – makes changes to the farmworker housing tax credit set-aside within the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program and to the Department of Housing And Community Development’s Office of Migrant Services.

AB 678 (Bocanegra) Housing Accountability Act – makes several changes to the Housing Accountability Act.

AB 879 (Grayson) Planning and zoning: housing element – makes a number of changes to housing element law, and directs the Department of Housing and Community Development to complete a study evaluating the reasonableness of local fees charged to new developments.

AB 1397 (Low) Local planning: housing element: inventory of land for residential development – makes a number of changes to housing element law by revising what may be included in a locality’s inventory of land suitable for residential development.

AB 1505 (Bloom) Land use: zoning regulations – authorizes the legislative body of a city or county to establish inclusionary housing requirements as a condition of the development of residential rental units, and allows the Department of Housing and Community Development to review inclusion ordinances in specified circumstances.

AB 1515 (Daly) Planning and zoning: housing – establishes, for purposes of the Housing Accountability Act, a reasonable person standard for deeming consistency, for a housing development project or emergency shelter.

AB 1521 (Bloom) Assisted Housing developments – strengthens the Preservation Notice Law regarding the preservation of assisted housing developments by requiring an owner of an assisted housing development to accept a bona fide offer to purchase from a qualified purchaser, if specified requirements are met, and by giving the Department of Housing and Community Development additional enforcement authority.

August 30 – Rendon and De Leon Announce Housing Bond Agreement (link to pdf)

August 10 – Poll Reveals Strong Support for Housing Bond(link to pdf)

August 4 – Contact your Legislators Before They Return to Sacramento (link to pdf)

July 10 – Your Calls Made the Difference. Contact Your Legislators During Summer Recess

June 30 – Urgent Call to Action (Housing Crisis)

June 2 – Governor’s Budget

Learn more about current public policies under consideration by lawmakers aimed restoring a dedicated funding source at making housing more affordable for working families sign up for regular advocacy updates here.