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Two Flawed Housing Bills Land on Governor Newsom's Desk

Assembly Bill 725 and Assembly Bill 2345 have reached Governor Gavin Newsom's desk. Please call and send letters/emails to Governor Newsom and urge him to veto these bills. Scroll down for "TAKE ACTION" recommendations.

Much of the 2020 housing legislation has been justified by supporters with the following outdated and misguided “supply-and-demand” argument: Deregulate land use as much as possible, an apartment construction boom will follow, and sky-high rents will stabilize and take a downturn since more units have come onto the market.

However, this "trickle-down" housing agenda creates an imbalance, in which very high demand at the low end of the market is met with more supply at the high end. [1] Developers end up building almost exclusively market-rate and luxury housing, which often triggers gentrification and displacement of middle- and working-class neighborhoods. Such an approach does little to directly address California's housing affordability crisis. AB-725 and AB-2345 are in tune with this unwise ideology.

ABOUT ASSEMBLY BILL 725 (Wicks D) "General plans: housing element: moderate-income and above moderate-income housing: suburban and metropolitan jurisdictions"

As part of the Housing Element process, jurisdictions must show they have sufficient sites to accommodate their 8-year Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), including units affordable at very low, low, moderate, and above moderate-incomes.

AB-725 would require metropolitan jurisdictions (but not unincorporated areas) to accommodate at least 25% of their RHNA for moderate-income housing on sites with zoning that allows at least four units of housing, but not more than 100 units of housing. In addition, AB-725 would require metropolitan jurisdictions to accommodate 25% of their RHNA for above moderate-income housing on sites with zoning that allows at least four units of housing.

Sites with an existing single-family home could be included in the sites used to satisfy the above requirements, if they were up-zoned to 4 units. The units authorized by the zoning would not include any ADUs or JADUs. In other words, these parcels would require at least four units in addition to any permissible ADUs or JADUs.

Reasons to Veto AB-725:

As part of the Housing Element process, jurisdictions must show they have sufficient sites to accommodate their 8-year Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA).

Due to mandates created by recently enacted Housing Element legislation, the majority of cities and counties are now having difficulty attracting enough housing to hit state-mandated growth targets known as RHNA. By restricting where RHNA sites can be located, AB-725 would make it even more difficult for jurisdictions to identify the best sites and reach their housing targets.

Moreover, AB-725 could pressure cities to up-zone established single-family and other low-density residential neighborhoods. Consequently, single-family and small multifamily neighborhoods (particularly middle- and working-class communities) could become prime targets for a wave of real estate speculation and be supplanted with dense, high-end residential developments.

Local governments are better than distant bureaucrats, with little or no connection to the places impacted, at determining where new housing should be located.

**Click HERE to read Sustainable TamAlmonte's letter to Governor Newsom for more detailed information about AB-725 and why it should be vetoed.

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ABOUT ASSEMBLY BILL 2345 (Gonzalez and Chiu) "Planning & Zoning: Density Bonuses: Annual Report: Affordable Housing"

According to the State Density Bonus Law, local governments must grant a density bonus when an applicant for a housing development of five or more units seeks and agrees to construct a project that will contain a percentage of affordable housing.

Assembly Bill 2345 revises Density Bonus Law to increase the maximum allowable density to 50%, reduce the percentage of lower-income affordability required for certain concessions and incentives, and significantly lower parking requirements.

AB-2345 would increase the maximum density bonus to 50% (up from the current 35%), depending on the number and level of deed-restricted affordable homes. Developers would be able to request a density bonus of 50% if they provide 15% very low-income units, 24% low-income units, or 44% moderate-income units.

AB-2345 would reward developers with the same incentives and concessions for projects with fewer units for lower income households:

AB-2345 significantly lowers or eliminates parking requirements. AB-2345 reduces the amount of parking a local government can require of a developer requesting a density bonus as follows:

AB-2345 lowers parking requirements even further (or eliminates any parking requirement) if the qualifying housing project is within ½ mile of mass transit or a fixed bus route.

Reasons to Veto AB-2345:

The California Density Bonus Law is badly backfiring, creating far too much luxury and market-rate housing and far too little low-income housing. AB-2345 would accelerate this trend. The bill does not adequately capture the value that it creates for developers and would result in less affordable housing than otherwise could be achieved.

AB-2345 would reward developers with excessive density bonuses and let them erect dramatically larger housing complexes with mostly market-rate housing units and only a few more affordable housing units. The bill would reward developers with the same concessions and incentives for projects that provide fewer units for lower income households. Developers would be allowed to circumvent well-planned local controls on density and development standards to a much greater extent.

Overburdened local communities would be left to pay for mitigating the resultant adverse impacts and for the necessary augmentation of infrastructure and public services, while developers’ profits rise.

Current density bonus law is better than AB-2345’s proposed new version of the law. Rather than increasing housing density, other types of solutions should be sought to provide more affordable housing.

**Click HERE to read Sustainable TamAlmonte's letter to Governor Newsom for more detailed information about AB-2345 and why it should be vetoed.

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TAKE ACTION:

Please call and send letters/emails to Governor Newsom (copy Aide Jason Elliot) and urge him to veto AB-725 and AB-2345. In order to send letters with letter heads and without a word limit, please email Governor Newsom's Aide Jason Elliot and attach the letters to the email. Ask Jason to forward your email and letter to Governor Newsom. If you send a letter via Jason, be sure to send a shorter message to the Governor via his message portal too.

Governor Gavin Newsom's contact information:

SAMPLE SCRIPT Re: Veto AB-725:

"Hello. My name is _____. I am calling to urge the Governor to veto AB-725. The majority of cities and counties are having difficulty attracting enough housing to hit state-mandated RHNA growth targets. By restricting where RHNA sites can be located, AB-725 would make it even more difficult for jurisdictions to identify the best sites and reach their housing targets. AB-725 is poor housing policy. Thank you."

SAMPLE SCRIPT Re: Veto AB-2345:

"Hello. My name is _____. I am calling to urge the Governor to veto AB-2345. The California Density Bonus Law is badly backfiring, creating far too much luxury and market-rate housing and far too little low-income housing. AB-2345 would accelerate this trend. The bill does not adequately capture the value that it creates for developers and would result in less affordable housing than otherwise could be achieved. AB-2345 is poor housing policy. Thank you."

Thank you in advance for taking action. Together, we can make a difference!

[1] http://zillow.mediaroom.com/2016-07-28-Rents-Rising-Fastest-Among-Low-End-Apartments

Tags

AB-725, AB-2345, housing legislation