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2016 Legislative Roundup: Brown Embraces Housing Bills Large and Small

CP&DR Staff on
Sep 29, 2016

A few months ago, Gov. Jerry Brown's signature housing bill, which would have waived certain local reviews for developments that included affordable units, and an accompanying $400 million for affordable housing died in the legislature. It was a blow for the governor but, as it turns out, it was not a harbinger of the fate of other legislation designed to ease the state's housing crisis. No fewer than a dozen housing-related bills made it to the governor's desk, and most met with his signature as of the October 1 signing deadline. They include a trio of density bonus bills, CEQA streamlining for infill, and other development bonuses. 

Despite their diminutive, mildly offensive nicknames -- "granny flats" and "in-law units" among them -- the big winners in this year's legislative session were accessory dwelling units. The legislature and governor considered and approved three bills to promote ADUs, which are small residential units often made out of garages or guest houses. The wellspring of support for ADUs is a symptom of the state's housing crisis. Though they are not without controversy, ADU's have arisen as some of the low-hanging fruit in the effort to provide affordable housing in built-out communities, especially those that view new, dense development with a wary eye. 

Aside from housing, perhaps the highest profile bill to survive the legislative session is SB 32, which extends 2006's landmark climate change law, AB 32. Brown signed a companion bill, AB 2722, which establishes the Transformative Climate Communities Program; administered by the Strategic Growth Council, the program will provide funds for cities to devise community plans that combat climate change.  

With the Oct. 1 signing deadlined passed, all bills have been signed by Gov. Jerry Brown unless otherwise noted as a veto.


PLANNING & ZONING

SB 1000 (Leyva) Land Use: General Plans: Environmental Justice
This bill would require a planning agency to review and revise the safety element to identify new information only to address flooding and fires. This bill would add to the required elements of the general plan an environmental justice element, or related goals, policies, and objectives integrated in other elements, that identifies disadvantaged communities, as defined, within the area covered by the general plan of the city, county, or city and county, if the city, county, or city and county has a disadvantaged community.

AB 2685 (Lopez) Housing Elements: Adoption
This bill would require the planning agency staff to collect and compile public comments and provide them to each member of the legislative body prior to the adoption of the housing element. By increasing the duties of local officials, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. 


HOUSING: APPROVALS, ZONING & LAND USE 

AB 1934 (Santiago) Planning and Zoning: Development Bonuses: Mixed-use Projects
This bill, when an applicant for approval for commercial development agrees to partner with an affordable housing developer to construct a joint project or 2 separate projects encompassing affordable housing, would require a city, county, or city and county to grant to the commercial developer a development bonus, as specified. The bill would define the development bonus to mean incentives mutually agreed upon by the developer and the jurisdiction that may include but are not limited to, specified variances.

AB 2180 (Ting) Land Use: Development Project Review
This bill would require approval or disapproval within 120 days from the date of certification of an environmental impact report when the development project consists of either residential units only or mixed use development in which the nonresidential uses are less than 50 percent of the total square footage of the development, among other conditions. It would also reduce each time period to within 90 days when the development project consists of either residential units only or mixed use development in which the nonresidential uses are less than 50 percent of the total square footage.

AB 2208 (Santiago) Local Planning: Housing Element: Inventory of Land for Residential Development
This bill would revise the definition of land suitable for residential development to include above sites owned or leased by a city, county, or city and county. By imposing new duties upon local agencies with respect to the housing element of the general plan, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. This bill would also require, until December 31, 2023, the department to provide guidance to local governments to properly survey, detail, and account for sites listed pursuant to a requirement that the city or county consider the above-described guidelines for the preparation of housing elements.

AB 2442 (Holden) Density Bonuses
This bill would additionally require a density bonus to be provided to a developer that agrees to construct a housing development that includes at least 10% of the total units for transitional foster youth, disabled veterans, or homeless persons, as defined. The bill would require that these units be subject to a recorded affordability restriction of 55 years and be provided at the same affordability level as very low income units. The bill would set the density bonus at 20% of the number of these units. By increasing the duties of local agencies, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

AB 2501 (Bloom) Housing: Density Bonuses
This bill would require the local government to adopt procedures and timelines for processing a density bonus application, provide a list of documents and information required to be submitted with the application in order for it to be deemed complete, and notify the applicant whether it is complete. This bill would specify that the term “density bonus” means a density increase over the maximum allowable gross residential density at the time of the date of the application, or, if elected by the applicant, a lesser percentage of density increase or no increase in density.

AB 2556 (Nazarian) Density Bonuses
Housing law defines “replace” for those purposes to mean, among other things, providing the same number of equivalent units to persons or families in the same or lower income categories. This bill would revise that definition of “replace” to require a rebuttable presumption, based on certain federal data, regarding the proportion of lower income renter households that occupy existing units, if the income category of the households in occupancy is not known.

AB 2584 (Daly) Land Use: Housing Development
The Housing Accountability Act, among other things, prohibits a local agency from disapproving a housing development project for very low, low-, or moderate-income households or an emergency shelter or conditioning approval in a manner that renders the project infeasible unless the local agency makes specified written findings.

SB 944 (Committee on Transportation and Housing) Housing Omnibus
An act to amend Section 7044 of the Business and Professions Code, to amend Sections 798.56a, 798.61, 1952.7, 4270, and 5570 of, to amend and renumber Section 4750.10 of, and to add Chapter 2.5 (commencing with Section 1954.10) to Title 5 of Part 4 of Division 3 of, the Civil Code, to amend Sections 12955.9, 65584.01, and 65863.10 of the Government Code, and to amend Sections 17913, 17922, 17922.3, 17958.1, 17959.1, 18080.5, 18935, 19990, 50074, 50784.7, and 50800.5 of, to add Section 50104.6.5 to, to repeal Sections 17921.3 and 17921.9 of, and to repeal Chapter 4.7 (commencing with Section 50580) of Part 2 of Division 31 of, the Health and Safety Code, relating to housing, and making an appropriation therefor.


HOUSING: LOW-INCOME, FINANCING & HOMELESSNESS

AB 1628 (Committee on Budget) No Place Like Home Program: Financing
The bill would authorize the California Health Facilities Financing Authority and the department to, among other things, enter into contracts to provide services pursuant to the No Place Like Home Program related to permanent supportive housing. The bill would also authorize the authority to issue taxable or tax-exempt revenue bonds in an amount not to exceed $2,000,000,000 for these purposes and to make secured or unsecured loans to the department in connection with financing permanent supportive housing pursuant to the No Place Like Home Program. The bill would require that the dollar limit on amounts distributed under the No Place Like Home Program be based on the principal amount of bonds issued by the authority and loaned to the department.

AB 2821 (Chiu) Housing for a Healthy California Program - Vetoed
This bill would require HCD to, on or before October 1, 2017, establish the Housing for a Healthy California Program and on or before April 1, 2018, and every year thereafter, subject to appropriation by the Legislature, award grants on a competitive basis to eligible grant applicants based on guidelines that HCD would draft, as prescribed, and other requirements. The bill would provide that an applicant is eligible for a grant under the program if the applicant meets specified requirements, including that the applicant identify a source of funding, as specified, agree to contribute funding for interim and long-term rental assistance, and agree to collect and report data, as specified.

AB 2031 (Bonta) Local Government: Affordable Housing: Financing
This bill would authorize a city or county to reject its allocations of property tax revenues that it would otherwise receive pursuant to specified statutory provisions governing the dissolution of redevelopment agencies. The bill would except from this authorization a city, county, or city and county that became the successor agency to the redevelopment agency and did not receive a finding of completion from the Department of Finance, as specified, and any designated local authority of a redevelopment agency, formed as specified, that did not receive the finding of completion from the Department of Finance.


HOUSING: ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS 

SB 1069 (Wieckowski D) Land Use: Zoning
This bill would find and declare that, among other things, allowing accessory dwelling units in single-family or multifamily residential zones provides additional rental housing stock, and these units are an essential component of housing supply in California. It would prohibit the imposition of parking standards under specified circumstances.

AB 2299 (Bloom) Land Use: Housing: 2nd Units
This bill would, instead, require a local agency to provide by ordinance for the creation of second units in certain zones. The bill would also specify that a local agency may reduce or eliminate parking requirements for any second unit located within its jurisdiction.

AB 2406 (Thurmond) Housing: Junior Accessory Dwelling Units
This bill would authorize a local agency to provide by ordinance for the creation of junior accessory dwelling units, as defined, in single-family residential zones. The bill would require the ordinance to include, among other things, standards for the creation of a junior accessory dwelling unit, required deed restrictions, and occupancy requirements. The bill would prohibit an ordinance from requiring, as a condition of granting a permit, water and sewer connection fees or additional parking requirements.


TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE 

AB 1592 (Bonilla) Autonomous Vehicles: Pilot Project
This bill would, authorize the Contra Costa Transportation Authority to conduct a pilot project for the testing of autonomous vehicles that do not have an operator and are not equipped with a steering wheel, a brake pedal, or an accelerator if the testing is conducted only at specified locations and the autonomous vehicle operates at speeds of less than 35 miles per hour.

AB 2741 (Salas) Long-range transportation planning: California Transportation Plan - Vetoed
This bill, beginning in 2020, would require updates to the plan to be approved by the commission prior to submission to the Legislature and the Governor. The bill would require the department to submit a draft of its proposed update to the commission for its comments by June 30, 2020, and every 5 years thereafter. The bill, if the commission does not approve an updated plan, would require the department to revise its proposed update in consultation with the commission. The bill would make other conforming changes.

Veto message.

AB 1889 High-Speed Rail Authority: High-Speed Train Operation
This bill would provide for the purposes of a certain plan that a corridor or usable segment thereof would be "suitable and ready for high-speed train operation” if specified conditions are met.


ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE, POLLUTION, CEQA

AB 197 (Garcia) State Air Resources Board: Greenhouse Gases
This bill would add two members of the Legislature to the state Air Resources Board as ex officio, nonvoting members. The bill would provide that the voting members of the state board are appointed for staggered 6-year terms. terms and upon expiration of the term of office of a voting member, the appointing authority may reappoint that member to a new term of office, subject to specified requirements. This bill would also require the state board, when adopting rules and regulations to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions beyond the statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit and to protect the state’s most impacted and disadvantaged communities, to follow specified requirements, consider the social costs of the emissions of greenhouse gases, and prioritize specified emission reduction rules and regulations. 

AB 2480 (Bloom) Source Watersheds: Financing
This bill would declare it to be state policy that source watersheds are recognized and defined as integral components of California’s water infrastructure. The bill would state the particular importance to maintaining the reliability, quantity, timing, and quality of California’s environmental, drinking, and agricultural water supply as climate change advances of source watersheds that supply the majority of the state’s drinking and irrigated agricultural water. The bill would state that the maintenance and repair of source watersheds is eligible for the same forms of financing as other water collection and treatment infrastructure and would specify that the maintenance and repair activities that are eligible are limited to specified forest ecosystem restoration and conservation activities.

AB 2722 (Burke) Transformative Climate Communities Program
This bill would create the Transformative Climate Communities Program, to be administered by the Strategic Growth Council. The bill would require the council to award competitive grants to specified eligible entities for the development and implementation of neighborhood-level transformative climate community plans that include greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects that provide local economic, environmental, and health benefits to disadvantaged communities, as defined. The bill would require the council to develop guidelines and selection criteria for the implementation of the program. 

SB 32 (Pavley) California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006: Emissions Limit
An extension of AB 32 of 2006, this bill would require the Air Resources Board to approve a statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit that is equivalent to 40% below the 1990 level to be achieved by 2030. The bill would also require the state board, on or before January 1, 2018, and each year thereafter, to prepare and submit to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee and appropriate policy committees a report relating to the greenhouse gas emissions reductions achieved toward those limits.

SB 122 (Jackson) California Environmental Quality Act: Record of Proceedings
This bill would require the lead agency, at the request of a project applicant and consent of the lead agency, to prepare a record of proceedings concurrently with the preparation of a negative declaration, mitigated negative declaration, EIR, or other environmental document for projects. This bill would require a lead agency to submit to the State Clearinghouse those environmental documents in either a hard-copy or electronic form as prescribed by the office. The bill would instead require the office to establish and maintain a database for the collection, storage, retrieval, and dissemination of environmental documents and notices prepared pursuant to CEQA and to make the database available online to the public.

SB 1464 (de León) California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction
This bill would require, in identifying priority programmatic investments, that the investment plan assess how proposed investments interact with current state regulations, policies, and programs, and evaluate if and how the proposed investments could be incorporated into existing programs. The bill would also require the investment plan to recommend metrics that would measure progress and benefits from the proposed programmatic investments.

AB 2800 (Quirk) Climate Change: Infrastructure Planning
This bill, until July 1, 2020, would require state agencies to take into account the current and future impacts of climate change when planning, designing, building, operating, maintaining, and investing in state infrastructure. The bill, by July 1, 2017, and until July 1, 2020, would require the agency to establish a Climate-Safe Infrastructure Working Group for the purpose of examining how to integrate scientific data concerning projected climate change impacts into state infrastructure engineering, as prescribed.


OPEN SPACE

AB 1716 (McCarty) Lower American River Conservancy Program
This bill would require the board to implement and administer the Lower American River Conservancy Program to receive and expend moneys for the benefit of the Lower American River and related lands by, among other things, providing grants to local public agencies and nonprofit organizations for projects benefiting the Lower American River. The bill would require the board to establish an advisory committee, as specified. The bill would establish the Lower American River Conservancy Program Fund in the State Treasury and would make moneys in the fund available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for purposes of the program.

AB 2189 (Irwin) Rim of the Valley Trail Corridor: Boundary Revisions
Existing law establishes the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy in the Natural Resources Agency and prescribes the functions and duties of the conservancy with regard to the preservation, protection, and management of specified lands in the Santa Monica Mountains Zone, as defined. This bill would authorize the conservancy to revise the boundaries of the Rim of the Valley Trail Corridor in the vicinity of the City of Moorpark, and to prepare and file a revised map, as prescribed.

AB 2616 (Burke) California Coastal Commission: Environmental Justice
This bill would require one of the members of the commission appointed by the Governor to reside in, and work directly with, communities in the state that are disproportionately burdened by, and vulnerable to, high levels of pollution and issues of environmental justice, as defined. The bill would require that the Governor appoint a member who meets these qualifications to a vacant position from the appointments available no later than the fourth appointment available after January 1, 2017.

SB 1172 (Hancock) Tidelands and submerged lands: City of Albany
An act to repeal Chapter 211 of the Statutes of 1919, relating to tidelands and submerged lands in the Bay of San Francisco, and making an appropriation therefor. This bill would delete those provisions and instead require that, on and after January 1, 2022, the use of those trust lands, certain designated tidelands and submerged lands, conform to an approved trust lands use plan, prescribed by the bill, and all leases or agreements proposed or entered into by the City of Albany, as trustee of those lands, also be consistent with the public trust doctrine, as defined, and conform to the plan.

SB 1374 (Lara) The Lower Los Angeles River Recreation and Park District
This bill would specifically authorize the establishment of the Lower Los Angeles River Recreation and Park District, by petition or resolution submitted to the Los Angeles County Local Agency Formation Commission before January 1, 2019, subject to specified existing laws governing recreation and park districts, including their formation, except as provided. The bill would authorize specified city councils and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to appoint the initial board of directors of the district.

SB-1386 (Wolk) Resource Conservation: Working and Natural Lands
This bill would declare it to be the policy of the state that the protection and management of natural and working lands, as defined, is an important strategy in meeting the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals, and would require all state agencies, departments, boards, and commissions to consider this policy when revising, adopting, or establishing policies, regulations, expenditures, or grant criteria relating to the protection and management of natural and working lands.

 


COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT 

AB 806 (Dodd) Community Development: Economic Opportunity
This bill would authorize a city, county, or city and county to acquire, sell, or lease property in furtherance of the creation of an economic opportunity, as defined. The bill would require the resolution to contain a finding that the acquisition, sale, or lease of the property will assist in the creation of economic opportunity and would require the creation of an economic opportunity to be subject to specified public notice and hearing provisions.

AB 2492 (Alejo) Community Revitalization
The bill would authorize an authority to carry out a community revitalization plan if the census tract or census block groups within the community revitalization and investment area are within a disadvantage community, as prescribed. It would authorize the calculation to be made with a combination of census tracts and census block groups. The bill would also revise the conditions to require, among other things, an annual median household income that is less than 80 percent of the statewide, countywide, or citywide annual median household income.


CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT

SB 122 (Jackson) California Environmental Quality Act: Record of Proceedings
This bill would require the lead agency, at the request of a project applicant and consent of the lead agency, to prepare a record of proceedings concurrently with the preparation of a negative declaration, mitigated negative declaration, EIR, or other environmental document for projects.

SB 734 Environmental Quality: Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011
This bill would extend the authority of the governor to certify a project to January 1, 2018. The bill would provide that the certification expires and is no longer valid if the lead agency fails to approve a certified project before January 1, 2019. This bill would require a multifamily residential project certified pursuant to the act to provide private vehicle parking spaces that are priced and rented or purchased separately from dwelling units, except as provided.

SB 1262 (Pavley) Water Supply Planning
This bill would require a city or county that determines a project is subject to the California Environmental Quality Act to identify any water system whose service area includes the project site and any water system adjacent to the project site. This bill would provide that hauled water is not a source of water for the purposes of a water supply assessment, as specified. This bill would, if a water supply for a proposed project includes groundwater, require certain additional information to be included in the water supply assessment. The act generally requires a subdivider to submit a tentative map for subdivisions of land, as specified.

AB 2180 (Ting) Land Use: Development Project Review
This bill would require approval or disapproval within 120 days from the date of certification of an environmental impact report when the development project consists of either residential units only or mixed use development in which the nonresidential uses are less than 50% of the total square footage of the development, among other conditions.


MISCELLANEOUS

AB 2586 (Gatto) Parking - Vetoed
This bill would prohibit a local authority that contracts with a private entity to enforce parking regulations from promoting designated incentives in connection with the issuance of violation notices.

Veto message.

SB 1465  (de Leon) Public contracts: 2024 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games
This bill would authorize the Governor to execute games support contracts, not to exceed a specified amount, in connection with the site selection process for the City of Los Angeles to become the host for the 2024 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, that accept financial liability to provide the state security for amounts owed by the Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (OCOG), as specified, and for any financial deficit accruing to the OCOG as a result of the hosting of the games by the endorsing municipality, as defined.

AB 1907 (Daly) Orange County Fair: Sale of State Property
Existing law divides the state into agricultural districts within the boundaries of which agricultural associations may be formed. Existing law creates District 32a from real property commonly known as the Orange County Fair and authorizes the Department of General Services to sell all or any portion of the real property that composes District 32a. This bill would repeal the provision creating District 32a out of the Orange County Fair property and would repeal the provision authorizing the sale of that property by the department. The bill would also repeal the creation of the District 32a Disposition Fund in the State Treasury.