With the creation of the Bay Area Housing Advocacy Coalition, HAC’s regional and Sacramento-focused advocacy arm, 2019 has been the most active year in the capital for our organization. So far, HAC has officially taken support positions on 24 different housing bills; all would lead to the creation of more housing at all levels of affordability. The proposals touch on a number of different areas and have varying levels of impact and controversy. While we want to provide a summary of what’s happening, we encourage everyone interested in legislation working to address our state’s housing and affordable crisis to ask questions and continue to research these important issues.
The two top priorities for HAC in 2019 and looking into 2020 are Senate Bill 50 and Senate Bill 330. While Senate Bill 50 was stalled in Senate Appropriations by Senator Portantino, our team is joining legislative staff and stakeholders in continuing to work on the bill, and we look forward to a vote in January 2020. Senate Bill 330 has continued to work through the legislative process and while we certainly hope the bill will be passed this year, significant amendments were made and the legislation lacks the pro-housing weight it promised when originally introduced.
The Arduous Life of State Bills
For the vote counts, the California State Assembly has 80 members and the State Senate has 40 members. Each bill goes through Policy and Fiscal committees where it’s introduced before a full ‘floor vote’, then repeats the process in the second house. Some of the bills we’re continuing to watch didn’t move to a floor vote in the house of origin for a variety of reasons; these are all now ‘two-year bills’ (meaning they’ll get picked up in January 2020).
Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) bills
|Summary: The Planning and Zoning Law authorizes a local agency to provide, by ordinance, for the creation of accessory dwelling units (“ADU’s”, or “mother-in-law” units) in single-family and multifamily residential zones and lays out standards including for details like lot coverage. This bill would delete the provision authorizing the imposition of standards on lot coverage and would prohibit an ordinance from imposing requirements on minimum lot size.|
Current Status: Passed the Assembly with 61 votes, currently at Senate Appropriations (the fiscal committee in the 2nd house).
Summary: Current law requires the Department of Housing and Community Development to propose building standards to the California Building Standards Commission, and to adopt, amend, or repeal rules and regulations impacting the development of apartment houses and dwellings, as specified. This bill would require the department to propose building standards for small homes with accessory dwelling units smaller than 800 square feet, junior accessory dwelling units, and detached dwelling units smaller than 800 square feet, as specified, and to submit the small home building standards to the California Building Standards Commission for adoption on or before January 1, 2021.
Current status: Passed the Assembly with 78 votes, currently at Senate Appropriations (the fiscal committee in the 2nd house).
Summary: The Planning and Zoning Law provides for the creation of accessory dwelling units by local ordinance, or, if a local agency has not adopted an ordinance, by ministerial approval, in accordance with specified standards and conditions. This bill would clarify the criteria used in current law designating areas where accessory dwelling units are permitted, ‘ the adequacy of water and sewer services and the impact of accessory dwelling units on traffic flow and public safety. This bill would instead require a local agency to designate these areas based on the adequacy of water and sewer services and the impact of accessory dwelling units on traffic flow and public safety. The bill would make other clarifying changes to the criteria an ordinance is required to meet.
Current status: Passed the Assembly with 71 votes, currently at Senate Appropriations (the fiscal committee in the 2nd house).
|Summary: Would authorize the creation of accessory dwelling units in areas zoned to allow single-family or multifamily dwelling residential use. The bill would also revise the requirements for an accessory dwelling unit by providing that the accessory dwelling unit may be attached to, or located within, an attached garage, storage area, or other structure, and that it does not exceed a specified amount of total floor area.|
Current Status: Passed the Senate with 34 votes, currently at Assembly Appropriations (the fiscal committee in the 2nd house).
Subsidized Affordable Housing Funding
Summary: Would, under the law governing the taxation of insurers, the Personal Income Tax Law, and the Corporation Tax Law, for the 2020 to 2024 calendar years, inclusive, would increase the aggregate housing credit dollar amount that may be allocated among low-income housing projects by an additional $500,000,000, as specified, and would allocate to farmworker housing projects $25,000,000 per year of that amount. The bill, under those laws, would modify the definition of applicable percentage relating to qualified low-income buildings to depend on whether the building is a new or existing building and federally subsidized, or a building that is, among other things, at least 15 years old, serving households of very low income or extremely low income, and will complete substantial rehabilitation, as specified.
Current Status: Passed the Assembly with 77 votes, currently at Senate Governance and Finance Committee (policy committee in the 2nd house)
|Summary: Current law dissolved redevelopment agencies as of February 1, 2012, and designates successor agencies to act as successor entities to the dissolved redevelopment agencies. This bill, the Community Redevelopment Law of 2019, would authorize a city or county, or two or more cities acting jointly, to propose the formation of an affordable housing and infrastructure agency by adoption of a resolution of intention that meets specified requirements, including that the resolution of intention include a passthrough provision and an override passthrough provision, as defined.|
Current status: Assembly Bill 11 is a two-year bill.
Summary: Would establish in state government the Affordable Housing and Community Development Investment Program, which would be administered by the Affordable Housing and Community Development Investment Committee. The bill would authorize a city, county, city and county, joint powers agency, enhanced infrastructure financing district, affordable housing authority, community revitalization and investment authority, transit village development district, or a combination of those entities, to apply to the Affordable Housing and Community Development Investment Committee to participate in the program and would authorize the committee to approve or deny plans for projects meeting specific criteria.
Current status: Passed the Senate with 31 votes, currently at Assembly Appropriations (fiscal committee in the 2nd house).
Summary: The Planning and Zoning Law requires the planning agency of a city or county to provide by April 1 of each year an annual report to, among other entities, the Department of Housing and Community Development (department) that includes, among other specified information, the number of net new units of housing that have been issued a completed entitlement, a building permit, or a certificate of occupancy, thus far in the housing element cycle, as provided. This bill would require a planning agency to include in that annual report specified additional information regarding housing development projects located within the jurisdiction, and other information as provided.
Current status: Passed the Assembly with 77 votes, currently at Senate Appropriations (fiscal committee in the 2nd house)
Summary: Would require a density bonus to be provided to a developer who agrees to construct a housing development in which 100% of the total units, exclusive of managers’ units, are for lower income households, as defined. However, the bill would provide that a housing development that qualifies for a density bonus under its provisions may include up to 20% of the total units for moderate-income households, as defined. The bill would also require that a housing development that meets these criteria receive 4 incentives or concessions under the Density Bonus Law.
Current status: Passed the Assembly with 72 votes, currently at Senate Appropriations (fiscal committee in the 2nd house).
Affordable Housing Fees
Summary: The Mitigation Fee Act requires a local agency that establishes, increases, or imposes a fee as a condition of approval of a development project to, among other things, determine a reasonable relationship between the fee’s use and the type of development project on which the fee is imposed.This bill would require each city, county, or city and county to post on its internet website the type and amount of each fee imposed on a housing development project, as defined.
Current status: Passed the Assembly with 74 votes, currently at Senate Appropriations (fiscal committee in the 2nd house).
Summary: Current law provides for the establishment of various special districts that may support and finance housing development, including affordable housing special beneficiary districts that are authorized to promote affordable housing development with certain property tax revenues that a city or county would otherwise be entitled to receive. This bill, the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Housing Finance Act, would establish the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority (hereafter the authority) and would state that the authority’s purpose is to raise, administer, and allocate funding for affordable housing in the San Francisco Bay Area, as defined, and provide technical assistance at a regional level for tenant protection, affordable housing preservation, and new affordable housing production.
Current status: Passed the Assembly with 45 votes, currently at Senate Appropriations (fiscal committee in the 2nd house).
Summary: Would establish the Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Funding Program, to be administered by the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA). The bill would authorize the city council of a city, or the board of supervisors of a city and county, to participate in the program by enactment of an ordinance establishing a transit-oriented affordable housing district, as provided.
Current status: Assembly Bill 1717 is a two-year bill.
Summary: Would prohibit the provision of state funding, as defined, for the purposes of planning, developing, or operating any housing used to comply with the federal law requirement to furnish housing to H-2A workers and would require an employer, as defined, or other recipient of state funding who utilizes state funding for these purposes to reimburse the state or state agency that provided the funding in an amount equal to the amount of that state funding expended for those purposes.
Current status: Passed the Assembly with 53 votes, currently at Senate Appropriations (fiscal committee in the 2nd house).
Summary: Would enact the Regional Homeless Management Planning Act, which would require the department, on or before December 31, 2020, to develop standards and definitions for a county to use in developing regional homeless action plans, as specified. The bill would require a county to complete and submit to the department a Regional Homeless Action Plan on or before January 1, 2022, and every 2 years thereafter, as specified. By increasing the duties of local officials, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
Current status: Assembly Bill 1534 is a two-year bill.
Summary: Current law requires that the housing element identify adequate sites for housing, including rental housing, factory-built housing, mobile homes, and emergency shelters, and to make adequate provision for the existing and projected needs of all economic segments of a community. This bill would revise the requirements of the housing element, as described above, in connection with the identification of zones where emergency shelters are allowed as a permitted used with a conditional use or other discretionary permit. The bill would generally require that emergency shelters be in areas that allow residential use, including mixed-use areas, but would permit designation in nonresidential zones if a zoning designation is not possible where residential use is a permitted use and if a local government can demonstrate that the zone is connected to specified amenities and services.
Current status: Senate Bill 48 is a two-year bill.
Housing Accountability Act
|Summary: The Housing Accountability Act, among other things, prohibits a local agency from disapproving or conditioning approval in a manner that renders infeasible a housing development project that complies with applicable, objective general plan, zoning, and subdivision standards and criteria in effect at the time the application for the project is deemed complete within the meaning of the Permit Streamlining Act, unless the local agency makes specified written findings based on a preponderance of the evidence in the record. This bill would prohibit a local agency from disapproving or conditioning a housing development project that is determined to be complete, as provided, and would make other related conforming changes.|
Current status: Bill was amended in 2nd house, currently at Assembly Appropriations but it needs to go back to the Senate.
Summary: The The Housing Accountability Act requires a local agency that proposes to disapprove a housing development project that complies with applicable, objective general plan and zoning standards and criteria that were in effect at the time the application was deemed to be complete, or to approve it on the condition that it be developed at a lower density, to base its decision upon written findings supported by substantial evidence on the record that specified conditions exist, and places the burden of proof on the local agency to that effect. The act requires a court to impose a fine on a local agency under certain circumstances and requires that the fine be at least $10,000 per housing unit in the housing development project on the date the application was deemed complete. This bill would, until January 1, 2025, specify that an application is deemed complete for these purposes if a preliminary application was submitted, as specified.
Current Status: Passed the Senate with 28 votes, currently at Assembly Appropriations (the fiscal committee in the 2nd house).
Summary: The Planning and Zoning Law requires that a development be subject to a requirement mandating a minimum percentage of below market rate housing based on one of 3 specified conditions. Current law requires, among those conditions, a development to dedicate a minimum of 10% of the total number of units to housing affordable to households making below 80% of the area median income, if the project contains more than 10 units of housing and the locality did not timely submit its latest production report to the Department of Housing and Community Development, or that production report reflects that there were fewer units of above moderate-income housing issued building permits than were required for the regional housing needs assessment cycle for that reporting period. This bill would modify that condition to authorize a development to instead dedicate 20% of the total number of units to housing affordable to households making below 120% of the area median income with the average income of the units at or below 100% of the area median income, except as provided.
Current status: Passed the Assembly with 72 votes, currently at Senate Appropriations (fiscal committee in the 2nd house).
Summary: The Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982 requires properties or entities of the state, federal, or local governments, except as otherwise provided, to be exempt from the special tax. This bill would also require property receiving a welfare exemption, as specified, to be exempt from the special tax. The bill would require this exemption to apply to taxes imposed by an ordinance adopted on or after January 1, 2020.
Current status: Passed the Assembly with 77 votes, currently at the Senate Floor.
Summary: Current law establishes the continuously appropriated Tax Relief and Refund Account in the General Fund and provides that payments required to be made to taxpayers or other persons from the Personal Income Tax Fund are to be paid from that account, including any amount allowable as an earned income tax credit in excess of any tax liabilities. This bill, for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2020, and before January 1, 2025, and only when specified in a bill relating to the Budget Act, would increase the credit amount for a qualified renter to $220 and $434, as provided. In the event the increased credit amount is not specified in a bill relating to the Budget Act, the existing credit amounts of $120 and $60, as described above, respectively, would be the credit amounts for that taxable year.
Current status: Passed the Senate with 37 votes, currently at Assembly Appropriations (the fiscal committee in the 2nd house).
Use of Public Land
Summary: Current law prescribes requirements for the disposal of surplus land by a local agency. Current law defines “local agency” for these purposes as every city, county, city and county, and district, including school districts of any kind or class, empowered to acquire and hold real property. This bill would expand the definition of “local agency” to include sewer, water, utility, and local and regional park districts, joint powers authorities, successor agencies to former redevelopment agencies, housing authorities, and other political subdivisions of this state and any instrumentality thereof that is empowered to acquire and hold real property, thereby requiring these entities to comply with these requirements for the disposal of surplus land. The bill would specify that the term “district” includes all districts within the state, and that this change is declaratory of existing law.
Current Status: Passed the Assembly with 53 votes, currently at Senate Appropriations (the fiscal committee in the 2nd house).
Summary: Would authorize a development proponent of a neighborhood multifamily project located on an eligible parcel to submit an application for a streamlined, ministerial approval process that is not subject to a conditional use permit. The bill would define a “neighborhood multifamily project” to mean a project to construct a multifamily structure on vacant land, or to convert an existing structure that does not require substantial exterior alteration into a multifamily structure, consisting of up to 4 residential dwelling units and that meets local height, setback, and lot coverage zoning requirements as they existed on July 1, 2019.
Current status: Senate Bill 50 is a two-year bill.