California Capitol
October 7, 2021

Governor Signs More Housing Bills — Lots of Them!


In our last newsletter, we were thrilled to announce that the Governor had signed four of SV@Home and the SV@Home Action Fund’s priority bills: SB 8, SB 9, SB 10, and AB 1174. Since then, he’s signed dozens more housing bills, including another four of our priority bills! Let’s look at these four:

AB-215 (Chiu) improves oversight and accountability for cities that underperform on housing production. This bill enhances the State’s ability to enforce current housing accountability measures by giving stronger authority to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and the Attorney General. AB 215 also requires local jurisdictions to solicit public comment before they submit their Housing Elements to HCD, an important pro-democracy measure.

AB-602 (Grayson) establishes standards for nexus studies used to calculate fees on new development. This bill reforms the ways cities can collect impact fees on housing development, and requires that those fees be proportional to housing size. AB 602 also requires transparency by requiring that all fees be disclosed.

SB-290 (Skinner) improves and clarifies the State’s density bonus law. The bill includes several provisions: incentivizing housing for low-income students, aligning density bonus approval requirements with the Housing Accountability Act, adding a parking waiver for development that is within a half mile of transit, and more. This bill implements key goals of the CASA process which was co-chaired by our former Executive Director Leslye Corsiglia, and which has been a guide for several recent pieces of legislation. 

SB-478 (Wiener) addresses excessive housing development rules set by local governments by prohibiting them from placing undue restrictions on residential development. This includes new regulations regarding floor area ratio (FAR), minimum lot size, and maximum lot coverage rules that make it harder for cities to block smaller, multi-family, or affordable homes from being built. 

Of our 11 priority bills this year, nine were signed into law — the eight discussed above as well as SB 7, which was signed by the Governor in May. As for the remaining two, one (AB 989) was put on hold until next year to work out some details, and the last (SB 477) was vetoed this week.  Each piece of legislation can only address a part of our challenge. Too many Californians face rent-burden, eviction, homelessness, and structural housing injustice. The housing crisis has been particularly hard on those Californians who were already most vulnerable, and those who have faced the most historical housing segregation. SV@Home and the SV@Home Action Fund will continue to work with our local legislative delegation and other state leaders and advocates to make sure the progress made this year is continued in the coming legislative year.