Three Key Housing Bills to Reach Newsom's Desk
Three bills considered game-changers by housing advocates have been approved by both houses of the legislature and are headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk. Lawmakers reached an agreement with labor leaders on AB 2011 and SB 6, two housing bills that would make commercial real estate available for residential construction. AB 2011 would allow property owners to speed through approval processes to build housing on commercial land if they meet certain affordability and labor requirements. According to analysis promoted by California YIMBY, the law could product up to 2.4 million units. SB 6 makes it easier to develop housing on land currently zoned commercial, facilitating redevelopment of properties such as underperforming malls. While drafting the bills, labor unions fought for a "skilled and trained" workforce requirement, while developers maintained that there were not enough workers who had completed the apprenticeship program available. Now, the labor groups have compromised, developers must hire skilled and trained workers if their development does not include affordable housing, and the two bills could add over one million apartments to the state housing market. According to Calmatters, Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins called the two-bill package “a monumental legislative agreement, and one of the most significant efforts to streamline and amplify housing production in decades.” Meanwhile, AB 2097, which effectively eliminates parking requirements within a half-mile of major transit stops, also passed the senate.
Redondo Beach May Have to Approve 2,300-Unit Project
The owner of a decommissioned power plant in Redondo Beach has submitted an application to fast-track a project to redevelop the 49-acre into a mixed-use development with office, retail, and event space as well as 2,320 housing units. The proposed project does not comply with zoning for the parcel. But, the city's housing element is currently out of compliance with HCD guidelines, and the city could be forced to make an exception under SB 330, an element of the Housing Accountability Act,. Out of these units, 458 would be affordable. The project, titled "One Redondo," includes two developments with 22 acres of green space in between each one. While the site is located in the non-residential Coastal Zone, the project may be permitted under AB 330 if the project is deemed to help Redondo Beach meet RHNA requirements. The developer is still awaiting permission to demolish the existing power plant. City officials have voiced opposition to the project.
San Diego Region Debates Emissions-Reduction Policies; May Disregard Impacts of Rural Developments
The San Diego County Planning Commission is pushing to rescind a requirement to study the environmental impacts of traffic and car use for new projects in rural areas of the county. Driving, and all of its emissions, would not be part of a project's environmental analysis, making it easier to construct rural developments without entirely understanding the project's impacts. While SANDAG approved a $165 billion transportation plan intended to reduce carbon emissions back in December, the board has still not determined how to pay for it. Several officials oppose the mileage tax, while others believe the tax -- or some alternate funding source -- is necessary for reducing car and fossil fuel dependency.
HCD Calls for Review of San Francisco's Downsizing of Proposed Residential Project
The Department of Housing and Community Development has, for a second time, notified San Francisco that it may have violated state housing law for a medium-density project. In the newest case, a proposed six-story project in the Mission District, state housing officials wrote to voice their concern about the city's decision to downsize an affordable housing project. The Planning Commission and the developer agreed to reduce the height of the project by about 10 feet, down to five stories. The height reduction would not change the number of available units, but the state argues that limiting height is a conflict in the fight to increase density. The state wrote that, under the state density bonus law, the city cannot downzone projects that contain enough affordable housing to be eligible for density increases. Officials are requesting that the city communicate its justification. (See related CP&DR coverage.)
Report: San Diego Woefully Behind on Permitting for New Housing
San Diego would have to triple its housing permit approval and production to meet state-mandated housing requirements by 2029, according to a city progress report. In the one year since the state established housing goals, the city issued 5,033 permits, when it should have issued 13,505 permits to secure 108,036 homes by 2029. Now, it must approve 14,715 per year. City staff notably does not seem too concerned and has continued to praise its ADU and affordable housing programs. However San Diego, like the majority of California cities, is used to failing when it comes to satisfying the housing target. Trends appear to be repeating, with housing failures applying to every income level and essential land use reforms waiting to be passed.
CP&DR Coverage: Fulton on State Review of San Francisco Housing Polices: One-Off or Trend?
The Department of Housing and Community Development is planning to focus on its review of San Francisco’s housing approval processes for now and isn’t currently planning to do similar reviews of other jurisdictions – at least not in the near future, writes CP&DR Publisher Bill Fulton. “We’re not ruling out the possibility of doing this kind of review elsewhere,” David Zisser, head of HCD’s Housing Accountability Unit, said in an exclusive interview with PC&DR. “But right now we’re not planning to do that, in part because it’s prudent to see how this goes.” San Francisco has come under fire for supposedly missing deadlines under the Permit Streamlining Act, and Zisser said the department has more open complaints about San Francisco than about any other city in the state. It is unclear whether this is a one-off case or whether it suggests a new era of housing policy enforcement by HCD and the Attorney General’s office – on in which the state plays a much more aggressive role.
Quick Hits & Updates
A recent PPIC survey investigates Californians' opinion of the environmental crisis and illuminates drought as the primary concern for most residents, with wildfires and climate change following. Many surveyed also voiced that climate change is not a distant worry but an existing harsh reality that severely impacts quality of life and the economy.
Norco and Pomona are the two latest Southern California cities to approve temporary moratoriums on new warehouses while they study industrial development's environmental and public health burdens, particularly on low-income communities and communities of color.
The HCD has notified Claremont that the city violated the Housing Accountability Act when it denied an easement over a public park that is intended to assist the construction of a new supportive housing project.
State officials submitted their site plan approval of the Mojave Inland Port proposal, allowing the project to move forward. The project includes a transportation and logistics hub intended to help reduce congestion in the Antelope Valley city of Mojave.
After the completion of its cleanup at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in Ventura County, Boeing must conduct research that proves stormwater runoff does not contain pollutants that threaten health and the environment, according to a decision from the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board.
Westminster voters will choose whether or not to extend a 1% sales tax for the next 20 years on the November ballot. Measure SS brought in $81.5 billion since it was passed six years ago and could now prove crucial as the city is expected to go bankrupt by 2024.
Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as the state's Infrastructure Advisor. Villaraigosa will identify which projects should be prioritized for federal infrastructure funding. California is already set to receive $120 million for eight projects.
Oakland will explore a bike lending program intended to ensure mobility while minimizing congestion and pollution. The Clean Mobility Options Voucher Pilot Program received a $1 million grant from the Air Resources Board and includes maintenance programs and ridership instruction guides.