New Housing Laws

It is no secret that California is experiencing a housing crisis. There just isn’t enough housing in the state for the people that want to live here. Prices are astronomical and homelessness is rampant.

One solution that is being pushed by developers is to do away with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the decades old law that requires environmental impact reports for all major projects. Now, CEQA is 50 years old, and could probably use an update, but an analysis by the Association of Environmental Professionals has found that CEQA is not a major cause of delay in housing projects.

Even so, it would benefit the state in many ways to increase the amount of “in-fill” housing, increasing density in areas that are already mostly urban, and that is what three new laws aim to do

SENATE BILL 8: EXTENSION OF THE HOUSING CRISIS ACT (SENATE BILL 330) The housing crisis act is extended was set to expire in 2025, and is now extended to 2030.

  • Qualifying projects are only subject to laws in place at the time of the preliminary application
  • Determination of historic sites must be made at the time of application
  • Local agencies can not impose non-objective standards
  • Local agencies can not impose growth caps
  • Local agencies can not reduce density below general plan in effect in 2018

SENATE BILL 9: MINISTERIAL DUPLEX AND LOT SPLIT APPROVAL

Possibly the most consequential. Eases the way for owners to convert properties to duplexes in urbanized areas

SENATE BILL 10: STREAMLINED UP-ZONING

Allows, but does not require local jurisdictions to up zone qualifying lots to higher density, up to 14 units

These all seem like intelligent, worthwhile changes. They probably won’t make a huge difference in the available housing stock or housing prices, but they will make a difference

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