Legislators have responded to the state’s decades-long housing affordability problem by introducing close to 150 related bills this year. The approaches range from increased financing for apartments to repealing restrictions on rent control to requiring local governments to exercise their land use control to better meet Californians’ housing needs.
With a long history of fighting for smart land use policy, PCL is neck-deep in these discussions. We’re advocating for land use and finance policies that give all Californians the option of living closer to their jobs, good schools, and other common destinations.
We are also articulating the importance of solid environmental review to ensure taxpayers aren’t stuck with long-term negative consequences that are only revealed through such analysis. This is a careful balance, important to the long-term health of our cherished environment and residents.
Some of the bills encompassing this delicate balance are:
- AB 73 Planning and zoning: housing sustainability districts. (Chiu) (http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB73) Allows cities and counties to create “housing sustainability districts” and receive state funding in exchange for scaled-back local review of individual projects.
- AB 1585 Planning and zoning: affordable housing: single application. (Bloom) (http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB1585) Creates a state board to hear appeals of local development denials if the development would help meet local housing needs.
- SB 35 Planning and zoning: affordable housing: streamlined approval process. (Wiener) (http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB1585) Reduces localities’ ability to deny proposed developments when they aren’t meeting specific percentages of their designated housing needs.
PCL has not yet taken a formal position on any of these measures, but is working with the author’s offices.
We’re also weighing-in on one of this year’s other major issues: increasing revenue for fixing roads and improving transit systems. Senator Jim Beall’s SB 1 (Transportation funding) (http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB1) would raise $5.6 billion annually, while expanding a CEQA exemption for road repairs, creating an Advance Mitigation Program, and making a variety of other change to state transportation policies.
PCL and a large coalition of equity, environmental, and transportation advocates sent an “oppose unless amended” letter to legislators earlier this year. We are meeting with senators and assemblymembers who value the state’s environment and expanded mobility options to push for amendments before the bill goes to Governor Brown.
For additional information on any bill, see leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. You can reach Julie Snyder, PCL’s lobbyist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.