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The New California Housing Bill Package

Staff Perspective Maeve Johnston

By now, most people who follow housing news know that Governor Jerry Brown signed a landmark housing bill package in September that is expected to fundamentally change the ways we fund and approve housing projects in the state.

The bills include SB 2 which will provide permanent funding sources for affordable housing starting in January 2018, and SB 3, a $4 billion dollar bond that will go before the voters in November 2018. Another game changing bill is SB 35, looks to streamline the approval process for housing when cities do not meet their housing goals required by the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA).  Under SB 35, if cities do not meet those goals, then project approval will be streamlined if they meet objective criteria, such as affordability, density, zoning, historic, and environmental standards and if rigorous standards for labor are met. Under AB 1505 jurisdictions may adopt laws requiring developers to include affordable housing in new rental and for-sale housing developments. For a brief description of all enacted housing bills, please see the fact sheet prepared by the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California.

These policies, along with additional legislation enacted by the Governor and State Legislature, will provide cities with tools and funding to implement creative solutions to address our housing challenges. San Mateo County cities are still learning about these changes, which will be implemented January 1, 2018. Cities are working with 21 Elements and Housing Leadership Council to understand what the changes will mean on the ground.