Among the myriad obstacles facing California home builders one of the most frustrating is the long and arduous process to get a housing project built. In San Francisco, a city infamous for its laborious approval and permitting process, it can take as long as 10 years for an affordable housing project to have people move in. These inordinate delays substantially drive up building costs and can often derail a project.
Now heading to Governor Newsom’s desk, AB 2234 authored by Assemblymembers Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) and Tim Grayson (D-Concord) and co-sponsored by HAC and Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG), remedies this issue by creating a framework for local governments to process residential building permits more efficiently and cost-effectively across the state.
While over the years lawmakers have focused on addressing the “entitlement” process to try and prevent cities from blocking projects for discretionary reasons such as design aesthetics or neighbors’ objections, AB 2234 uniquely focuses on the “post-entitlement” building permit process, which is often slowed down by the inefficiencies of local government.
Home builders have been the most vocal about the need to speed up the permit acquisition process, but they’re not the only group benefiting from AB 2234. When different phases of construction such as plumbing and electricity are delayed, housing prices go up. This obviously affects homebuilders, but it also affects future residents. Delays and increased building costs on the front end force residents to pay more for their homes on the back end. And when delays and rising costs lead to homebuilders scrapping their projects, it’s the residents who are denied new homes who suffer.
AB 2234 provides a thoughtful solution to these issues. By ensuring local governments process building permits more efficiently, AB 2234 will make it faster and easier for homebuilders to build, leading to more affordable and abundant homes for California neighbors.
And we desperately need to make it faster and easier to build. According to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute, California needs to build 3.5 million homes by 2025 to satisfy pent-up demand and meet the needs of a growing population.
To accomplish that lofty goal, we need smart, pro-housing policies like AB 2234, that will help us achieve our housing targets and also help foster a more equitable, accessible, and affordable California.