Legislative Committees Begin Consideration of Key Housing Bills

Legislative committees began work in earnest in March to review the many housing bills that were introduced earlier this year. In last month’s newsletter, we highlighted bills that made changes to State housing programs, streamlined development, made it easier to develop housing in commercial zones, and propose the creation of new regional housing entities. [Read more…] for additional bills that are proposing solutions that would increase more land for housing.

Surplus Lands—Recent legislation has strengthened the requirements for the disposition of publicly owned land for housing use. AB 2357 (Ting) would make additional changes, including requiring that HCD maintain a list of all jurisdictions interested in surplus property acquisition.

Student Housing— Concerns about the lack of housing options for students have garnered recent media attention (see article below). AB 2295 (Bloom) would eliminate the requirement that “local education agencies” — typically K-12 school districts—must seek approval from the Division of the State Architect when building housing for their teachers and school employees. SB 886 (Wiener) would exempt student housing and faculty/employee housing from CEQA when a public university or community college seeks to build affordable homes on land it owns.

Adaptive Reuse—One way to create new housing opportunities is through adaptive reuse, the repurposing of an existing non-residential building for use as permanent or long-term housing. SB 1369 (Wieckowski) would make an adaptive reuse project a by -right use in all areas regardless of zoning. AB 1695 (Santiago) would require that any notice of funding issues by HCD must allow adaptive reuse as an eligible activity.