Legislation

The Context of Housing Legislation

 

2018 Bills to Watch

 

 

Housing Policy History

 

The Context of Housing Legislation

 

The challenge of providing affordable homes for individuals and families is nothing new. Neither is the profit motive embraced by developers, bankers, and builders. After all, this is how market-based economies work.

Against the backdrop of growing income inequality and skyrocketing tax burdens, citizens are pushing back on Sacramento’s steady march to impose one-size-fits all and top-down planning on local communities. A growing resistance that includes locally elected officials and community leaders are demanding that community values and environmental protections take priority over the profits of big business.

Within this legislative context, Livable CA invites you to join us, get involved, and help solve our affordable housing challenges. Together we create a Livable California.

 

2018 Bills to Watch 

Latest Monitoring Report – Link  

 

SB-827 Planning and zoning: transit-rich housing bonus  – Link

Digest: Requires a local jurisdiction, notwithstanding any local ordinance, general plan  element, specific plan, charter, or other local law, to provide an eligible applicant with a transit-rich housing bonus if requested by the developer, as specified. More – Link

LC Position – Actively Opposed

Status: Defeated for 2018 – Likely to come back next next year – LC Watch

 

SB-828 Land use: housing element – Link 

Digest: Makes a number of changes to the regional housing needs allocation (RHNA) process. More – Link

 LC Position – Actively Opposed

 Status: Passed Senate and Assembly. Waiting Governor’s action.

 

AB-2890 Land use: accessory dwelling units – Link

Summary:  Revises, restructures, and expands accessory dwelling unit (ADU) and junior accessory dwelling unit (JADU) law. More – Link 

LC Position – Opposed

Status: Passed Senate and Assembly. Waiting Governor’s action.

 

AB-2923 San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District: transit-oriented development – LInk

 Summary:  Requires the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) to adopt transit-oriented development (TOD) zoning standards for BART-owned land within one-half mile of an existing or planned BART station, and requires affected cities and counties to update zoning to be consistent with BART’s zoning standards within two years. More – Link

LC Position – Opposed

Status:  Passed Senate and Assembly. Waiting Governor’s action.  

 

AB-3194 Housing Accountability Act: project approval – Link

 Summary: Makes changes to the Housing Accountability Act (HAA). More – Link

In Brief:  Prohibits a local agency from disapproving, or conditioning approval in a manner that renders infeasible, a housing development project for very low, low-, or moderate-income households or an emergency shelter unless the local agency makes specified findings 

LC Position – Opposed

Status: Passed Senate and Assembly. Signed by Governor

 

 

SB-831 Land use: accessory dwelling units – Link

In Brief: Imposes additional restrictions on local accessory dwelling unit ordinances and developer fees. –  More – Link

LC Position – Opposed

Status: Defeated for 2018

 

SB-1469 Land use: accessory dwelling units – Link

In Brief: Imposes additional restrictions on local accessory dwelling unit ordinances and developer fees. – More – Link

LC Position – Opposed

Status: Defeated for 2018

 

 

 

Housing Policy History

 

Before the Great Depression, affordable housing was typically left to private markets and big businesses like Pullman that built company towns.

Bob Silvestri, author of The Best Laid Plans: Our Planning and Affordable Housing Challenges in Marin, describes how a HUD report published in 1991 set the stage for the challenges facing community planners and leaders today.

The report, authored by former Senator Jack Kemp, was entitled Not in My Backyard and introduced the term “NIMBY.” Kemp’s purpose was to eliminate environmental and other local regulations for the benefit of the private, for-profit development and banking interests that had backed his nomination, all under the guise of needing more housing. As Silvestri explains, the history of affordable housing is the context for the situation we find ourselves in today.

A Brief History of Housing Policy in the United States and California

1934 Legislation established the National Housing Act, which created the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to protect from foreclosures related to the Great Depression.
1937 The U.S. Housing Act introduced the phrase “affordable housing” and initiated subsidized construction of government-owned rental housing for the general public, under Section 8 of the Act.
1949 The Housing Act was created to house post WWII vets.
1960s Fair Housing laws ensured equal access to housing.
1970s President Nixon drastically cut federal housing programs.
1980s President Reagan reduced the role of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and created the Section 8 voucher system, whereby individuals were issued rent payment coupons to live in housing built by the private sector.
1980s CA State Housing Element Law passed that requires regional Associations of Governments (ABAG) to determine regional housing needs for persons at all income levels, based on projected state population and household growth. The goal was to use Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) to create balance of jobs and housing by issuing housing “quota” mandates to every city and county.
1989 Jack Kemp became Secretary of HUD. Kemp’s goal was to “privatize” the affordable housing business through the use of vouchers, project revenue bonds, leverage debt, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and federal Housing Assistance Payments.
1991 HUD published the “NIMBY” Report, which contended that local planning and zoning control was an impediment to affordable housing. In truth, this was a ruse to remove local control over private, for profit development.
1995 Congress proposed to shut down HUD; focus on home ownership and no-down payment purchase agreements that enabled bankers to game the system, which ultimately led to the crash and bank bailout of 2008.
2008 CA Senator Darrell Steinberg resurrected the NIMBY theme and wove it into the threat of climate change. By combining an Assembly bill intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (AB 32) with a strategy (SB 375) to build high density housing near transit, (called “Sustainable Communities”), private interests were given power to usurp local zoning control, even though claims that the strategy reduced greenhouse gas emissions were actually denied by the bill’s environmental impact report.
2013 The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) adopted Plan Bay Area: A Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy for the San Francisco Bay Area 2013-2040.
2017 California legislators, many influenced by the big budgets of Silicon Valley, the Bay Area Council, the real estate, building, and banking industries, passed 15 new laws under the promise of creating affordable housing.
2018 Without allowing time for the 15 laws to prove themselves, Legislators have flooded the docket with new housing laws that further erode local control, such as SB 827 and SB 828.

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