After a number of substantial revisions during the drafting process, California state senator Scott Wiener’s SB 828 has become law.
California law requires cities and counties to adopt a “general plan” to guide community development, including housing. Previously, local governments had the ability to manipulate their plans to restrict new housing development.
The law addresses this problem in a number of ways:
defines a “healthy” vacancy rate as no less than 5%;
prohibits the use of previous underproduction of housing or stable population growth to reduce housing development goals;
allows the California Department of Housing and Community Development to adjust the housing goal methodology based on a region’s total projected households, including existing homes.
The law also requires localities to report the number of cost-burdened households in an area, in addition to the rate of cost burden for a healthy housing market (how much lower-income residents should be paying in rent).
Also noteworthy is a change to the language governing California’s housing goals, making explicit the Golden State’s commitment to more housing.
— Daniel Takash (@DanielTakash) August 30, 2018
Though not as direct as Wiener’s other bill, SB 827 (which would have directly upzoned buildings close to public transit stops and unfortunately died in committee last spring) it’s a huge step in the right direction. Local governments (and their NIMBY residents) have an outsized advantage when it comes to preventing development, and SB 828 will hold them to their housing goals.
Gov Brown signed my bill (#SB828) to reform how CA sets housing goals for cities & ensure that our housing goals actually match our housing needs. This is a big win for housing & likely means more cities will be streamlined under my housing streamlining bill from last yr, #SB35. pic.twitter.com/hVeXy4ewod
— Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) October 1, 2018