Legislation to increase homebuilding in urbanized areas throughout California has passed the legislature and will go to Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing, says state Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkley) who introduced the Housing Crisis Act of 2019 (SB330) despite opposition from 56 cities and councils and the League of California Cities and 56 cities and counties.
The measure, which received scant news coverage, would ban population and housing caps in “urban clusters,” ban housing construction moratoriums, forbid density reductions and allow demolition of affordable and rent-controlled housing only if the demolished units will be replaced, the Sacramento Bee has reported. “It also includes anti-displacement provisions, requiring relocation assistance to tenants forced to move from affordable rental units and allowing them to stay in their homes until six months before construction begins,” the newspaper reported.
SB 330 also blocks local governments from changing the rules on pending developments by hiking fees or changing permit requirements once a project applicant submitted preliminary development plans, Skinner said in a statement,
The legislation would sunset at the end of 2024, and its provisions would be subject to limits in existing laws like the Coastal Act and the California Environmental Quality Act.
“Our failure to build enough housing has led to the highest rents and homeownership costs in the nation,” Skinner said in a statement. “My bill gives a green light to housing that already meets existing zoning and local rules and prevents new rules that might limit housing we so desperately need.”
Skinner said in her statement that much of the state’s needed housing has already been planned for by local communities.. One UCLA study shows local governments already have approved zoning for 2.8 million new housing units, which is 80 percent of Newsom’s goal to build 3.5 million new units by 2025.
“But that housing is not getting built,” Skinner said. During the first half of 2019, residential building permits actually dropped 20 percent from the same period a year ago, according to her statement.
State housing officials have been calling for construction of 200,000 units a year — a target reached just 24 times in the past 65 years, figures from the Construction Industry Research Board show. Newsom wants to increase goal to more than 350,000 new housing units a year, a target yet to be achieved in California.
While local governments have spoken out against the law, it received support from several major business groups including the California Business Roundtable, the California Building Industry Association and the California Association of Realtors.