Three New California Laws to Facilitate Housing Production

The California Legislature and Governor authorised three key housing payments in 2021 to facilitate housing manufacturing in California. SB 8 (Senator Skinner) extends and expands the Housing Disaster Act of 2019 (SB 330). SB 9 (Senator Atkins) permits for the approval of duplexes and two-lot subdivisions on qualifying properties with out environmental evaluation beneath the California Environmental High quality Act (CEQA). SB 10 (Senator Wiener) permits cities and counties to up-zone qualifying properties in an city infill or transit-rich space for up to 14 dwelling models (together with accent dwelling models) with out CEQA evaluation.

Senate Invoice 8: Extension of the Housing Disaster Act (Senate Invoice 330) Efficient January 1, 2022, the Housing Disaster Act of 2019, extra generally referred to as SB 330, which, beneath current regulation, would have expired on January 1, 2025, is now prolonged till January 1, 2030, with the passage of SB 8. SB 8 additionally clarifies that the protections beneath SB 330, summarized beneath, apply to ministerial initiatives, initiatives proposing a single dwelling unit, and density bonus initiatives.

The SB 8 extension is essential as a result of SB 330 made a number of essential amendments to the long-standing Housing Accountability Act (HAA) and created procedural and substantive protections for qualifying “housing development projects” with a minimum of twothirds of their sq. footage devoted to residential use. Since SB 330 turned efficient on January 1, 2020, we’re more and more seeing SB 330/SB 8 purposes filed throughout the state. With every software, we’re studying one thing new in regards to the many advantages builders can acquire from this key laws, in addition to the other ways by which native jurisdictions are making use of it, and extra just lately, the methods by which courts are also making use of and upholding the regulation. As it’s a creating discipline, we needed to take this chance to remind readers of a number of the key options of SB 330/SB 8. The now-extended SB 330 protections embrace, however usually are not restricted to, statutory vested rights, tightened native approval procedures, and restrictions on the adoption of recent laws that might impede new housing growth. Extra particularly:

  • Topic to restricted exceptions, SB 330 supplies {that a} qualifying housing growth venture is simply topic to the ordinances, insurance policies, and requirements adopted and in impact when a “preliminary application” is submitted, which happens on the outset of the entitlements course of. Growth impression charges, fees, or different financial exactions are additionally vested at that very same time, and the one modifications allowed relate to will increase ensuing from an computerized annual adjustment based mostly on an independently printed price index that’s referenced within the ordinance or decision establishing the charge or different financial exaction.

  • As well as to creating new timing necessities beneath the Allow Streamlining Act, SB 330 supplies that not more than 5 public hearings, together with continued hearings and appeals, could also be held on a venture after an software for a certified housing growth venture is deemed full.

  • Topic to restricted exceptions, SB 330 supplies that any willpower as to whether or not a venture web site is historic have to be made on the time the appliance for the qualifying housing growth venture is deemed full, as outlined therein.

  • Native businesses can not impose or implement non-objective design requirements established on or after January 1, 2020. Current case regulation clarifies the that means of “objective” design requirements, albeit within the context of the HAA, by explaining {that a} design normal is just not “objective” if cheap folks might attain totally different conclusions as to how to adjust to the design normal. See our latest authorized alert for extra details about that case: California Renters Authorized Advocacy and Training Fund (CARLA) v. Metropolis of San Mateo (Case Nos. A159320, A159658, September 10, 2021).

  • With restricted exceptions, native businesses, together with the citizens pursuant to its native initiative or referendum energy, can not impose development caps or moratoriums on new housing growth.

  • Native businesses can not cut back permitted housing density to beneath that allowed beneath the relevant particular or normal plan in impact on January 1, 2018.

Senate Invoice 9: Ministerial Duplex and Lot Break up Approval

  • SB 9 goals to incrementally develop the availability of small-scale housing developments by offering for ministerial approval (i.e., no obligatory public listening to, no CEQA evaluation) of duplexes and lot splits (up to a most of two parcels and 4 models) if the next standards are met:

  • The parcel have to be zoned single-family residential;

  • The parcel have to be situated in an urbanized space (inhabitants of fifty,000 folks or extra), as designated by the U.S. Census Bureau;

  • The venture should not end in demolition or alteration of reasonably priced housing (together with rent-controlled models) or just lately rented models;

  • If the parcel is situated in a delicate space (i.e., the coastal zone, farmland, wetland, or hazard space), the venture should meet any associated restrictions relating to demolition and siting;

  • The prevailing constructing(s) on the parcel should not have been topic to the Ellis Act (withdrawal of residential models from the rental market) throughout the previous 15 years;

  • The venture should not demolish greater than 25 p.c of the outside of any current constructing(s) on the parcel;

  • The parcel should not be situated inside a historic district, as outlined in SB 9, together with native landmarks and historic districts; and

  • The parcel should not have been beforehand subdivided beneath SB 9.

Moreover, qualifying lot splits can solely end in two parcels which are practically equal (at most a 60/40 break up), each ensuing parcels have to be a minimum of 1,200 sq. toes, any leases have to be for greater than 30 days, and the applicant should signal an affidavit that it’s going to use one of many models as a main residence for a minimum of three years (until the applicant is a group land belief or certified nonprofit).

Senate Invoice 10: Streamlined Up-Zoning

SB 10 permits, however doesn’t require, native jurisdictions (cities and counties) to undertake ordinances by way of January 1, 2029, up-zoning qualifying parcels for up to 14 dwelling models (up to 10 normal dwelling models, plus up to two accent dwelling models and two junior accent dwelling models) with out CEQA evaluation for both the zoning ordinance or a qualifying venture, the latter of which can thereafter be authorised ministerially. Extra particularly:

  • The parcel(s) have to be an “urban infill” web site, as outlined in SB 10 (i.e., surrounded by city makes use of on a minimum of 75 p.c of the parcel perimeter and assembly different specified necessities) and/or in a “transit-rich” space (i.e., situated inside one-half mile of a significant transit cease and/or on a “high quality” bus hall, as outlined therein);

  • The parcel(s) have to be zoned for residential or mixed-use growth, by which case a minimum of two-thirds of the venture’s sq. footage have to be allotted for residential use;

  • The parcel(s) should not be situated in a excessive or very excessive hearth severity zone, until sure relevant hearth hazard mitigation measures have been adopted;

  • The parcel(s) should not be publicly-owned land designated as open house or for park and leisure functions, if that designation was authorised by a neighborhood initiative;

  • The zoning ordinance should, amongst different specified necessities, set up a most constructing peak for the relevant parcel(s); and

  • The zoning ordinance have to be adopted by a two-thirds majority of the legislative physique if it could override any voter-imposed restrictive land use initiative. On this final level, the AIDS Healthcare Basis has filed go well with in Los Angeles in search of to invalidate SB 10 on the premise {that a} native authorities can not constitutionally amend or override native land use ordinances beforehand enacted by native voters with no vote of the folks. The litigation is at present scheduled to be heard in Los Angeles Superior Court docket on Could 12, 2022.

Moreover, the native normal plan, particular plan, or different native and use regulation adopted to be per the zoning ordinance could also be amended with out CEQA evaluation and a zoning ordinance adopted pursuant to SB 10 might have an operative date that extends past the laws’s January 1, 2029 deadline. It must also be famous that any subsequently adopted zoning ordinance that might up-zone the parcel(s) past the SB 10 most wouldn’t be exempt from CEQA beneath SB 10 and should assume the pre-SB 10 upzoning because the “existing condition” for CEQA evaluation functions.

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