SACRAMENTO, CA (August 30, 2022) — The California Legislature recently approved a critical bill designed to speed up California’s lagging housing production by addressing inefficiencies in the permitting process – AB 2234 (Rivas) Planning and zoning: housing: post entitlement phase permits. This common-sense legislation brings certainty to the building permit acquisition process after local housing developments are approved.
California’s housing affordability crisis ranks at the top of all public policy and business competitiveness agendas. The state’s median home prices are at all-time highs at over $833,000 in June 2022, which is out of reach for most—only 16% of Californians can afford a median-priced home.
While there are many facets to this problem, if you ask any California home builder, permitting can be a major hurdle and has brought many visionary developments to an acrimonious halt. California’s notorious local regulations and processes have been enough to keep many construction firms out of the state altogether. With an estimated shortage of 3 million homes, the homes that finally do get built are in such demand that prices have risen far out of reach for the average wage earner.
Authored by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) and Assemblymember Tim Grayson (D-Concord), AB 2234 will ensure that jurisdictions clarify local procedures, which can often be next to impossible to decipher. Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) and the Housing Action Coalition partnered to cosponsor the legislation, spearheaded the development of the bill’s core principles, and amassed a wide base of support from legislators in both Chambers of the State Legislature.
“The Housing Action Coalition is proud to partner with SVLG and Assemblymembers Rivas and Grayson to simplify and accelerate the post-entitlement home building permitting process,” said Housing Action Coalition Executive Director Corey Smith. “AB 2234 will enhance transparency, accountability, and communication between city governments and home builders and ensure that housing for residents of all income levels moves forward more efficiently.”
The bill requires the permit application process to be moved online and jurisdictions to create detailed lists of permit requirements, and would not be able to add requirements for applications in progress. They would have to provide a set of example permit applications for the most common types of housing developments, and it would all be required to be posted on their website.
Surprised that building departments aren’t doing this already? Unfortunately, the current process in most jurisdictions is enigmatic at best and can cause new affordable housing projects to take a decade to complete. AB 2234 implements a reasonable, transparent process so that good projects don’t have years needlessly added to their timelines.
AB 2234 passed the State Senate with a vote of 36-1 on August 24 and was approved by the Assembly with a Concurrence vote on August 25. It now heads to the Governor’s desk.
“AB 2234 is a prime example of how leading Silicon Valley companies can leverage our problem-solving expertise to develop innovative solutions for our toughest challenges, like affordable housing. This bill establishes a shot clock to ensure that much-needed housing development – especially those that will improve access to more affordable units – can proceed expeditiously through the permitting process once approved at the local level. It’s an important step towards housing solutions that we will continue building upon. A special thank you to the bill’s authors, Assemblymember Robert Rivas and Tim Grayson, and our partners at Housing Action Coalition,” said Ahmad Thomas, CEO of SVLG.
The legislation can be viewed HERE.
Interview opportunities with Vince Rocha from SVLG and Corey Smith from the Housing Action Coalition are available upon request.