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California Seeks to Address Housing Crisis with New Laws

California Seeks to Address Housing Crisis with New Laws

California governor signs three housing bills intended to streamline processes and expand housing production.

Fresh off surviving a recall election, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is taking aim at housing policies. On Sept. 16, Gov. Newsom signed three bills—Senate Bill 8, Senate Bill 9 and Senate Bill 10—to streamline housing permits and expand housing production, among other objectives.

Also announced as part of the governor’s California Comeback Plan was a $1.75 billion California Housing Accelerator “to expedite construction of an estimated 6,500 shovel-ready affordable multi-family units in projects stalled due to constraints on the supply of tax-exempt bonds and low-income housing tax credits,” according to the release from the governor’s office.

The California Comeback Plan invests $22 billion in housing and homelessness to create more than 84,000 affordable homes. SB 9 eases the process for homeowners to construct a duplex or split their residential lot, resulting in more options for homeowners to add units on their current property.

SB 10 allows local governments streamlined access to the zoning process of multi-unit housing near transit-rich and urban infill areas—10 residential units per parcel. This law gives local governments the ability to voluntarily increase density by easing the California Environmental Quality Act zoning requirements.

“This bill has the potential to increase housing development at a time when the state is experiencing a significant shortage of the units needed to meet the needs of Californians,” said the governor in a letter on SB 10 to members of the State Senate.

SB 8 extends provisions of the Housing Crisis Act of 2019 an additional five years through 2030. The Act accelerates the approval process for housing projects and limits fee increases on housing applications, notes the release.

Read the release from Gov. Newsom’s office here.