As the California Legislative Session concludes today, it’s safe to say that pro-housing advocates came out on top.
In terms of the bills HAC sponsored this session, all three have been approved by the Legislature and now await Governor Newsom’s signature.
Assembly Bill 281 (Grayson) extends the permit review timelines created by HAC-sponsored Assembly Bill 2234 (2022) to California’s more than 3,300 “Special Districts” (e.g. water districts, sewer districts), giving them 30 or 60 days (depending on project size) to comment on permit applications for new housing developments.
Assembly Bill 1114 (Haney) prevents unnecessary and costly delays in San Francisco housing construction by closing an only-in-SF loophole that currently allows any individual or group to delay a housing project by appealing its already-issued building permits. SF is the only city in California that allows this absurd stalling tactic, and we are putting a stop to it this year! Read more here.
Assembly Bill 1485 (Haney), gives the Attorney General’s office the unconditional right to intervene in any lawsuit filed over a potential violation of state housing law. Read more about AB 1485 here!
These three bills represent HAC’s efforts to improve each part of the homebuilding process. Many of the state bills this legislative session, including Senate Bill 4 and Senate Bill 423 described below, focus on the entitlement and approval process. While these are critical efforts, after a project is entitled and approved, homebuilders still need to obtain their permits. To that end, permit process reform was a main focus for HAC this legislative session as we worked with state lawmakers to make it faster and easier for homebuilders to obtain the permits they need to build.
The other two major bills that passed the legislature are Senator Wiener’s Senate Bill 4 and Senate Bill 423.
Senate Bill 4, known as the Yes-in-God’s-Backyard (YIGBY) bill, approves code compliant affordable housing projects on land owned by religious institutions. A recent Terner Center analysis found that there are roughly 171,000 acres of developable land owned by these institutions, so the opportunity to create new homes is exciting.
Senate Bill 423 extends and improves a previously approved law from Senator Wiener, Senate Bill 35 (2017). SB 423 helps cities that are not meeting their RHNA targets by creating a ministerial process for code compliant projects. The bill also expands the workforce for mixed-income projects, to ensure that more housing gets built at all income levels.
The Housing Action Coalition remains dedicated to advocating for solutions that make it easier to create more homes for all Californians. While there is plenty of work to do, we’re emboledened by the success of this legislative session and look forward to celebrating even more pro-housing progress.