More than 150 Housing Bills Introduced by the CA Legislative Deadline

Dozens of housing and land use bills were introduced by the February 18th deadline, with the first hearings expected to begin next month. Because this is an election year and last year was a big year for housing, it wasn’t anticipated that housing would be a key focus of the Legislature this year. Nevertheless, there are a number of key bills that we think will garner some interest this year.

Changes to State Housing Programs—AB 2006 (Berman) would require that the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA), and the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTCAC) enter into an agreement to streamline and coordinate project monitoring for projects with multiple funding sources. AB 2305 (Grayson) would require that HCD, CalHFA, and CTCAC coordinate the allocation of resources by creating a new Coordinated Affordable Housing Finance Committee and establishing a single process and application for receipt of State funding assistance. SB 948 (Becker) would prohibit HCD from requiring a project-specific transition reserve, and instead create a Pooled Transition Reserve Fund within HCD to mitigate impacts on tenant rents from the loss of rental or operating subsidies.

Development Streamlining—AB 2234 (Rivas) seeks to streamline the post-entitlement process for developers by requiring that public agencies approve or disapprove a development project within a certain timeframe, among other provisions. SB 886 (Wiener) would exempt housing for students, faculty, and staff of a public university from the California Environmental Quality Act.

Regional Housing Organizations—Senator Kamlager’s SB 679 was introduced in 2021, passed the Senate, and will now work its way through the Assembly. The bill seeks to create a new, independent county agency that would have the authority needed to raise funds for the production of new housing and the provision of renter protections. The new Los Angeles County Affordable Housing Solutions Agency (LACAHSA) is modeled after the Bay Area Housing Finance Agency (BAHFA), which was approved through legislation in 2019. In San Diego, Senator Ben Hueso has introduced SB 1105, which seeks to create a San Diego Regional Housing Finance Agency. Currently a spot bill, it is expected that more details will be available soon.

Commercial Land for Housing—Two bills that were introduced in 2021 that would make it easier to develop housing on land now zoned commercial are moving forward. SB 6 (Caballero) would make housing an allowable use on parcels located in office and retail commercial zones. SB 15 (Portantino) would require HCD to provide grants to local agencies that rezone big box or shopping center sites for housing.

LeSar will provide a more in-depth evaluation of key bills as the legislative session moves forward.