Call Toll Free +1 855-856-TIPS
Sacramento, California – Governor Gavin Newsom has signed bipartisan legislation (background story) to accelerate housing construction in California, streamline the permitting process, and enhance density in order to promote more inclusive and vibrant neighborhoods around the state. Potentially adding an additional 700,000 homes the package of laws will assist in addressing the interconnected issues of climate change and housing affordability by supporting denser housing closer to major job centers – a critical component of California’s greenhouse gas emission reduction strategy.
The Governor highlighted the state’s continued efforts to increase home production, address construction impediments, and hold local governments accountable.
California officials announced today the creation of the California Housing Accelerator – a $1.75 billion component of Governor Newsom’s California Comeback Plan aimed at accelerating the construction of an estimated 6,500 shovel-ready affordable multifamily units in projects stalled due to a lack of tax-exempt bonds and low-income housing tax credits.
The California Comeback Plan spends an unprecedented $22 billion in housing and homelessness, resulting in the establishment of approximately 84,000 new affordable houses for California residents, including over 44,000 new housing units and treatment beds for persons who have experienced homelessness. This Plan is the state’s largest housing investment in history, with $10.3 billion projected for housing and more than $12 billion for the unhoused.
The Governor also signed Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins’ SB 9, the California Housing Opportunity and More Efficiency (HOME) Act, which the White House commended for its efforts to improve housing supply earlier this month.
The HOME Act simplifies the process for homeowners who wish to build a duplex or split their existing residential land, thereby increasing housing alternatives for people of all income levels and providing homeowners with additional chances to add units to their existing properties. It has restrictions aimed at preventing renters from being displaced and safeguarding historic neighborhoods, fire-prone areas, and environmental quality.
Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced Senate Bill 10, which establishes a voluntary method for local governments to access a simplified zoning process for new multi-unit housing near transit or in urban infill regions with up to ten units per parcel. The legislation simplifies the CEQA criteria for upzoning, allowing local governments to voluntarily increase density and give more affordable rental housing options to California residents.
Also approved is senate Bill 8, sponsored by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which extends the Housing Crisis Act of 2019’s provisions through 2030. The Housing Crisis Act of 2019, which was set to expire in 2025, streamlines the approval process for housing developments, limits local governments’ authority to downzone, and caps fee increases on housing applications, among other important accountability elements.
Tim Grayson’s (D-Concord) Assembly Bill 1174, an emergency measure that modifies the existing streamlined, ministerial approval process for housing development in jurisdictions that have not yet made sufficient progress toward meeting their regional housing needs is also included.
Another component of Governor Newsom’s housing strategy is local government accountability for housing. Governor Newsom commended the Attorney General last week for successfully defending the constitutionality of California’s Housing Accountability Act (the “anti-NIMBY law”) against a challenge in California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund v. City of San Mateo.
Last year, the Governor requested intervention from the Attorney General to defend this vital tool for holding local governments accountable for their role in increasing housing availability. The resulting appellate court ruling limits local governments’ authority to prohibit additional housing that would otherwise be permitted under their own current laws and general plan.
Governor Newsom approved a first-of-its-kind legal action against a city for impeding affordable home creation and failing to satisfy regional housing requirements during his first month in office. The Governor called for faster CEQA assessment to include housing in his 2019 State of the State Address, citing legislation he signed earlier this year that allows for streamlining of smaller housing projects.