December 21, 2020 Housing Action Coalition

Sacramento Update: Ready for 2021!

While 2020 was not at all what we had hoped for in terms of housing progress in Sacramento, we’re both prepared for and optimistic about advancing pro-housing legislation in the year ahead.

While HAC will not be taking a position on every piece of legislation in the just-introduced “Building Housing Opportunities for All” Senate Housing Package, here’s a quick summary of all the bills we’re currently tracking.

Senate Bill 5 (Atkins)
Would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would authorize the issuance of bonds and would require the proceeds from the sale of those bonds to be used to finance housing-related programs that serve the homeless, extremely low income, and very low income Californians.

Senate Bill 6 (Caballero)
The Planning and Zoning Law requires each county and city to adopt a comprehensive, long-term general plan for its physical development, and the development of certain lands outside its boundaries that includes – among other mandatory elements – a housing element. This bill, the Neighborhood Homes Act, would deem a housing development project, as defined, an allowable use on a neighborhood lot, which is defined as a parcel within an office or retail commercial zone that is not adjacent to an industrial use. The bill would require the density for a housing development under these provisions to meet or exceed the density deemed appropriate to accommodate housing for lower income households according to the type of local jurisdiction, including a density of at least 20 units per acre for a suburban jurisdiction.

Senate Bill 7 (Atkins)
This bill would require a lead agency to prepare a master EIR for a general plan, plan amendment, plan element, or specific plan for housing projects where the state has provided funding for the preparation of the master EIR. This bill also would allow for limited review of proposed subsequent housing projects that are described in the master EIR if the use of the master EIR is consistent with specified provisions of CEQA.

Senate Bill 8 (Skinner)
Would make a non substantive change to the definition of “development standard” for purposes of the Density Bonus Law.

Senate Bill 9 (Atkins)
Would require a proposed housing development containing two residential units within a single-family residential zone to be considered ministerially, without discretionary review or hearing, if the proposed housing development meets certain requirements, including, but not limited to, that the proposed housing development would not require demolition or alteration of housing that is subject to a recorded covenant, ordinance, or law that restricts rents to levels affordable to persons and families of moderate, low, or very low income (On-Site Subsidized Affordable Housing) that the proposed housing development does not allow for the demolition of more than 25% of the existing exterior structural walls, except as provided, and that the development is not located within a historic district, is not included on the State Historic Resources Inventory, or is not within a site that is legally designated or listed as a city or county landmark or historic property or district.

Senate Bill 10 (Wiener)
Would, notwithstanding any local restrictions on adopting zoning ordinances, authorize a local government to pass an ordinance to zone any parcel for up to 10 units of residential density per parcel, at a height specified in the ordinance, if the parcel is located in a transit-rich area, a jobs-rich area, or an urban infill site, as those terms are defined. In this regard, the bill would require the Department of Housing and Community Development, in consultation with the Office of Planning and Research, to determine jobs-rich areas and publish a map of those areas every five years, commencing January 1, 2022, based on specified criteria. The bill would specify that an ordinance adopted under these provisions is not a project for purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act. The bill would prohibit a residential or mixed-use residential project consisting of 10 or more units that is located on a parcel rezoned pursuant to these provisions from being approved ministerially or by right.

Senate Bill 15 (Portantino)
Current law establishes, among other housing programs, the Workforce Housing Reward Program, which requires the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to make local assistance grants to cities, counties, and cities and counties that provide land use approval to housing developments that are affordable to very low and low-income households. This bill, upon appropriation by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act or other statute, would require the HCD to administer a program to provide incentives in the form of grants allocated as provided to local governments that rezone idle sites used for a big box retailer or a commercial shopping center to instead allow the development of workforce housing.

Senate Bill 30 (Cortese)
Would, on or after January 1, 2022, prohibit a state agency from designing or constructing a state facility that is connected to the natural gas grid. The bill would require the department to develop the California State Building Decarbonization Plan that will lead to the operational carbon-neutrality of all state-owned buildings by January 1, 2035. The bill would, except as provided, prohibit state agencies from providing funding or other support for projects for the construction of residential and nonresidential buildings that are connected to the natural gas grid.

Senate Bill 31 (Cortese)
Would require the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to identify and implement programs to promote existing and new building decarbonization. The bill would, to the extent clean energy or energy efficiency funds are made available from the federal government to address economic recovery and development due to the COVID-19 pandemic, authorize the commission to expend federal moneys, to the extent authorized by federal law, for projects for existing and new building decarbonization. The bill would additionally require the commission, under the EPIC program, to award funds for projects that will benefit electricity ratepayers and lead to the development and deployment of commercial and residential building decarbonization technologies and investments that reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas generation in those buildings.

Senate Bill 32 (Cortese)
Would require a city or county to amend, by January 1, 2023, the appropriate elements of its general plan to include goals, policies, objectives, targets, and feasible implementation strategies, as specified, to decarbonize newly constructed commercial and residential buildings. The bill would require a city or county to submit these draft general plan amendments to the commission at least 45 days prior to the adoption of the amendments. The bill would require the legislative body of the city or county to consider the commission’s advisory comments, if any, prior to adopting the amendments.

Senate Bill 55 (Stern)
Would, in furtherance of specified state housing production and wildfire mitigation goals, prohibit the creation or approval of a new development, as defined, in a very high fire hazard severity zone or a state responsibility area. By imposing new duties on local governments with respect to the approval of new developments in very high fire hazard severity zones and state responsibility areas, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Assembly Bill 15 (Chiu)
Would extend the definition of “COVID-19 rental debt” as unpaid rent or any other unpaid financial obligation of a tenant that came due between March 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021. The bill would also extend the repeal date of the act to January 1, 2026. The bill would make other conforming changes to align with these extended dates. By extending the repeal date of the act, the bill would expand the crime of perjury and create a state-mandated local program.

Assembly Bill 49 (Petrie-Norris)
Would state the intent of the Legislature to enact future legislation that would eliminate the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee and that would transfer the duties and authority of that committee to the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee.

Assembly Bill 68 (Salas)
Would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would implement recommendations made in the California State Auditor’s Report 2020-108, issued on November 17, 2020, relating to affordable housing.

Assembly 71 (Rivas)
Would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to create a comprehensive, statewide homelessness solutions program. This bill would create the Bring California Home Fund in the State Treasury for the purpose of providing at least $2,400,000 annually to fund a comprehensive, statewide homeless solutions program upon appropriation by the Legislature. The bill would require the Bring California Home Fund to contain revenues derived from specified changes to the Personal Income Tax Law or the Corporation Tax Law that are enacted on or after the effective date of this bill.

ACA 1 (Aguiar-Curry)
The California Constitution prohibits the ad valorem tax rate on real property from exceeding 1% of the full cash value of the property, subject to certain exceptions. This measure would create an additional exception to the 1% limit that would authorize a city, county, city and county, or special district to levy an ad valorem tax to service bonded indebtedness incurred to fund the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of public infrastructure, affordable housing, or permanent supportive housing, or the acquisition or lease of real property for those purposes, if the proposition proposing that tax is approved by 55% of the voters of the city, county, or city and county, as applicable, and the proposition includes specified accountability requirements.

SCA 2 (Allen and Wiener)
This measure would repeal current provisions in the California Constitution that prohibit the development, construction, or acquisition of a low-rent housing project, as defined, in any manner by any state public body until a majority of the qualified electors of the city, town, or county in which the development, construction, or acquisition of the low-rent housing project is proposed approve the project by voting in favor at an election, as specified.

Housing Action Coalition

The Housing Action Coalition is a member-supported non-profit that advocates for the creation of well designed, well-located housing at all levels of affordability. We believe more housing means more choices and better solutions.

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