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California Governor Signs Inclusionary Zoning Bill Into Law

Zoning Bill Into Law

As California legislators celebrate the passage and the governor signing of 15 housing-related bills, apartment owners and developers face one measure that will exacerbate the housing affordability issues facing the state—Assembly Bill 1505. AB1505 was introduced by Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), and will allow local governments to levy inclusionary zoning requirements on new rental housing developments.

Up until this point, cities and counties have been prohibited from requiring a percentage of rental housing be set-aside as affordable. This limit on local governments was affirmed in 2009 when the California Second Court of Appeal ruled in Palmer Sixth Street Properties v. City of Los Angeles that inclusionary zoning mandates for new apartment development were prohibited by the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) was the first member of the California legislature to attempt to roll back the Palmer Decision with his legislation, Senate Bill 184, which he introduced in 2011. That bill was stopped in the Senate. 

In 2013, Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) introduced Assembly Bill 1229, that would have overturned the Palmer Decision. This proposal advanced through the legislature, and was sent to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature and consideration. Governor Brown, who as Mayor of Oakland had vetoed an inclusionary housing ordinance, vetoed AB1229.

Unfortunately, the third time’s a charm and in 2017, California lawmakers proposed a bill that would authorize municipalities to mandate the inclusion of below-market units as a condition of development for apartments. This time, Brown signed the measure, AB1505 into law. What this means is the housing affordability crisis is about to get much worse for the Golden State.

For more information, please contact Robert Melvin, Manager of Government Affairs, if a state bill or local proposal to address rent regulation comes up locally.