Board of Directors Votes to Support Governor’s New Housing Bill

By: Shanel Scholz

On July 27, the AIA East Bay Board of Directors voted to support the Governor’s Streamline Affordable Housing Approvals Bill, while also encouraging local jurisdictions to promote design quality through the use of best professional practices, such as planning, zoning, design guidelines and design review. Under current legislation, proposals for new housing are often put on hold for years while waiting for approval.

The Bill was proposed during the announcement of the state budget on June 15. The Housing Reform Proposal would allow housing projects that meet eligibility requirements and are compliant with local zoning to move forward without case-by-case review by local governments. This would streamline the permitting process for housing developers building affordable homes and speed up the building of projects. It would also cut the cost of development, lowering the cost of home prices and rent. Ninety days of decision review is still allowed and negative impacts under CEQA would be addressed by programs EIRs for Zoning and General Plans.

Eligible projects must meet the following requirements:

-Are multifamily housing developments surrounded by urban uses

-Have affordable housing components of 5 to 20 percent (depending on access to transit and the income levels targeted)

-Conform to local general plan and zoning standards

-Provide relocation assistance to displaced households

A vote on the bill was expected by the budget deadline of June 15, although past trailing bills have been deferred until the end of the legislation session, which is August 31. No decision has been reached as of today.

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