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California's HOUSING BILLS by the Embarcadero Institute

Map of Marin locations 85, 55, 45 feet building

At peak a bus, from Route 24, is less than every 15 mins

SB35 actions:

SB 1227 (Feb 2018) Adds STUDENT HOUSING to the existing DENSITY BONUS Law

Up-zoning: Five bills take away local zoning authority. In single-family neighborhoods a developer could build “by right” duplexes and multi-family units on single-family parcels. (AB-1279, AB-2345, SB-902, SB-1120, SB-1385)
Streamlining: Several bills remove CEQA environmental protections, which developers claim delay their plans and reduce profits. (SB-995, SB-1085, SB-1120)
Developer Incentives: By adding a few affordable units, developers can increase building heights and density, increasing the number of market-rate units while overriding community standards and zoning codes. (AB-725, AB-1279, SB-1085, SB-1385)
Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA): As local authority is undermined and resources are strained, the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is expanding power to dictate the number of units communities are required to build. In these times of cut-backs and budget woes for cities, HCD is expanding its staff of 900 to allocate, monitor and enforce aggressive Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) quotas. RHNA is set by appointed bureaucrats, not elected officials. (AB-725, AB-3040)


SB-1385 ANALYSIS   The “Neighborhood Homes Act,” authorized use of commercially zoned (office or retail)  ----  for housing development to be eligible for SB 35’s streamlined ministerial approval process .

AB-2345 Extends the density bonuses that a developer can request

AB -3107 ANALYSIS  For housing development be allowable on commercial zoned:
It is subject to a recorded deed restriction requiring that at least 20 percent of the units have an affordable housing cost or affordable rent for lower income households.
(A) The height limit applicable to the housing development shall be the greatest of the following:

  1. (i) The highest allowed height for the site of the housing development.
  2. (ii) The highest allowed height for a commercial or residential use within one-half mile of the site of the housing development.
  3. (iii) Thirty-six feet.

(B) The floor area ratio of the housing development shall be 0.6 times the number of stories that complies with the height limit under clause (i) of subdivision (A).
(C) The density limit applicable to the housing development shall be the greater of the following:

(i) The greatest allowed density for a mixed use or residential use within one-half mile of the site of the housing development.

AB1763 if 100% of the units are restricted to low- and moderate-income households.
Requires the city or county to

  • Not impose any minimum parking requirements.
  • Not impose any maximum controls on density and
  • allow a height increase of up to three additional stories, or 33 feet.

The problem is that in Marin MODERATE INCOME for a family of 2 is $110,700!

SB-1120 ANALYSIS  Require a city or county to ministerially approve (within an urbanized area or urban cluster):-

  • A housing development of up to two units (a duplex).
  • The subdivision of a parcel into two equal parcels (urban lot split).

Require a proposed housing development containing 2 residential units to be considered ministerially, without discretionary review or hearing.

AB-3040 ANALYSIS giving local governments additional RHNA credits when they up-zone single-family parcels to allow four housing units per parcel. By specifying up front of the amount of credit received, it avoids the uncertainty that cities otherwise experience when adding zoning capacity to areas that already have existing housing.

SB-902    ANALYSIS Authorize a local government to pass an ordinance, notwithstanding any local restrictions on adopting zoning ordinances, to zone any parcel for up to 10 units of residential density per parcel, at a height specified by the local government in the ordinance, if the parcel is located in a transit-rich area, a jobs-rich area, or an urban infill site. The local government may set the height requirements, and this ordinance would override any restrictive local zoning ordinances.
The ordinance is not a project for purposes of CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act.

SB-995 ANALYSIS To streamline and expedite environmental review for housing projects, a lead agency shall prepare a master environmental impact report for a general plan, plan amendment, plan element, or specific plan for housing projects where the state has provided funding for the preparation of the master environmental impact report.
Shall allow for the
limited review of subsequent housing projects that are described in the master environmental impact report as being within the scope of the master environmental impact report.

Density Bonus Law is a unique tool that incentivizes developers to build more affordable housing in California. However, flaws in the program result in many cities underutilizing the density bonus tool or not using it at all. SB 1085 improves and clarifies the density bonus statute to expand its use.


  1. Provides that a development containing 20% moderate-income rental units shall receive the following:
    • a) 35% density bonus.
    • b) For projects located ½ mile from a transit stop, a local government shall not impose a parking ratio inclusive of handicapped and guest parking that exceeds .5 spaces per bedroom.
  2. A housing development’s affordable units or bonus units -- prohibit fees relating to affordable housing, including inclusionary zoning fees, in-lieu fees, and public benefit fees, from being imposed.
    When a local government waives or reduces development standards ---
    remove the specified impact upon the physical environment from the limitations.

 AB-725   It appears that the law was only for ABOVE Moderate and now includes MODERATE ?
The purpose of this bill is to facilitate the development of more medium density housing at moderate and above-moderate incomes, akin to the requirement for very low- and low-income housing.
It would do so by requiring at least 25% of the jurisdiction's share of the regional housing need for both moderate-income and above moderate-income housing be allocated to sites with zoning that allows at least two units of housing, but no more than 35 units per acre of housing.
 Such density would enable the production of medium-density housing on these sites that typically are subject to more restrictive zoning currently.
For a typical jurisdiction, this bill would increase the minimum percentage of land zoned for multi-family housing from approximately 40% to 55%. ANALYSIS

Require that at least
 25% of a metropolitan jurisdiction’s share of the regional housing need for moderate-income housing be allocated to sites with zoning that allows at least 2 units of housing, but no more than 35 units per acre of housing.
 The bill would require that at least 25% of a metropolitan jurisdiction’s share of the regional housing need for ABOVE moderate-income housing be allocated to sites with zoning that allows at least 2 units of housing, but no more than 35 units per acre of housing. 

AB-1279 Any area designated as a high-opportunity area,  a residential development project be a use by right, upon the request of a developer, if the project meets specified requirements, including specified affordability requirements.
For certain
 residential development projects where the initial sales price or initial rent exceeds the affordable housing cost or affordable rent to households with incomes equal to or less than specified percentages of the area median income, the bill would require the applicant to agree to pay a fee in an amount that would vary based on the size of the project and whether the units are ownership or rental units, as provided.
The bill would require the
city or county to deposit the fee into a separate fund reserved for the construction or preservation of housing with an affordable housing cost or affordable rent to households with a household income less than 50% of the area median income.

Allows a development proponent to submit an application for a development that is subject to a specified streamlined, ministerial approval process not subject to a conditional use permit if the development satisfies certain objective planning standards, including that the development is

  1. (1) located in a locality determined by the Department of Housing and Community Development to have not met its share of the regional housing needs for the reporting period, and
  2. (2) subject to a requirement mandating a minimum percentage of below-market rate housing, as provided.


One solution to any Affordable Housing shortage can be conversion of commercial property to Detached Manufactured or Mobile housing in metropolitan areas. Its just that governments need to make the land available.
California's climate makes construction of this cheap and desirable housing so much more feasible.
Detached Manufactured/Mobile housing, with a small garden can be a more popular choice over apartments.
These detached homes might even attract teachers, firemen and police away from suburb commuting (who frequently choose suburban life over apartment dwelling).

Who pays for larger fire trucks that can handle eight-story buildings, water for new residents, additional highway and transit capacity, larger schools and more police?
Not the State !!!

SB827  (Introduced Jan 3rd 2018. Died in Committee April 18 2018.) Exempt a housing project from maximum controls on:

  • residential density or
  • floor area ratio,
  • minimum automobile parking requirements,
  • design standards that restrict the applicant’s ability to construct the maximum number of units consistent with any applicable building code, and
  • maximum height limitation increases
    •  within either a one-quarter mile radius of a high-quality transit corridor or within one block of a major transit stop
      • (55 feet, 5 stories, if a parcel facing a street that is less than 70 feet wide from property line to property line, widest adjacent street is less than 45 feet curb-to-curb,  - or 85 feet, 8 stories, otherwise)
    • within a one-half mile radius of a major transit stop  
      • (45 feet, 4 stories, if a parcel facing a street that is less than 70 feet wide from property line to property line, widest adjacent street is less than 45 feet curb-to-curb, ,  - or 55 feet, 5 stories, otherwise)

    (where High-quality transit corridor is a bus service with intervals of no more than 15 minutes during peak.
    Major transit stop” has the same meaning as defined in Section 21064.3 of the Public Resources Code. )
    That is
    : 21064.3.  Major transit stop” means a site containing:

    •  an existing rail transit station,
    •  a ferry terminal served by either a bus or rail transit service, or
    • the intersection of two or more major bus routes with a frequency of service interval of 15 minutes or less during the morning and afternoon peak commute periods.
SB828 (Introduced Jan 3rd 2018) wants to "rapidly increase housing supply, particularly housing supply for moderate and above-moderate income households."
What business is it of the State to mandate housing for a family of 3, for example, earning between $94,850 to $124,500 !! ( MODERATE income). Surely the State should be focusing on LOW INCOME Housing ?

At the State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee hearing one of the senators said ( at the 30 minute point in the video   ) "The current allocation of RHNA , - - we've all agreed is a little screwy" ( where RHNA = Region Housing Needs Allocation )

2017 Income
           Number of persons in Household
  $ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Marin County Extremely Low 30% 27,650









Very Low Income 50%









4-Person Area Median Income:

Low Income 80%










Median Income










Moderate Income 120%









Los Angeles County

Extremely Low










Very Low Income









4-Person Area Median

Low Income *










Median Income










Moderate Income









*These numbers just increased over 11% in 2018. Low income exceeding median income is due to HUD adjustments to the Very Low-Income income limit to account for high housing costs. source
New York City, notorious for its high costs of housing,  the limit for family of 4 is $83,450.

SB 831 Loosen restriction on Accessory Dwelling Units.

SB893 within ½ mile of a major transit stop,  delete existing additional vehicular parking ratio provisions for DENSITY BONUS.


SB 2, , would create a permanent source of funding for affordable housing, imposing fees of $75 to $225 on certain real-estate transactions, such as mortgage refinancing. (Home and commercial real estate sales would not be subject to the fee.) It would collect $1.2 billion over the next five years — and would raise a total of $5.8 billion during that time, including federal, local and private matching funds, according to committee estimates. Passed with a two-thirds vote. Half of the funding will be spent on initiatives to combat homelessness and half will go to local government during the first year. Cities and counties will receive 70 percent of the annual revenue beginning in 2019. The remaining 30 percent will be distributed by the state.

SB 3,  would place a $4 billion statewide housing bond on a future ballot. Like SB 2, it would pay for existing affordable-housing programs in California that used to be supported by funds from the state’s Redevelopment Agency, a giant source of money that was slashed during the Great Recession and never replaced. If the bond measure passes and is approved by voters, $1 billion of the total would go to extend the CalVet Home Loan Program, which is scheduled to expire in 2018. And $3 billion for housing development programs. Passed with a two-thirds vote. Taxpayers would cover the principal and interest on the $3 billion for housing projects, with annual debt service costing roughly $195 million over 30 years. Debt service for the $1 billion in borrowing for veterans housing programs would come from participating veterans’ loan payments.

SB 35, would try to tackle the state’s housing-supply shortage. Currently, cities are told every eight years how many units they need to build to meet their share of regional demand (RHNA)— but they are not required to build them. This bill would make it harder to ignore those goals. It targets cities that fall short, requiring them to approve more housing developments that fit the bill’s criteria until they are back on track.

SB 166, would push cities and counties to plan for their share of low-income and moderate-income housing needed in the region. ( would allow low-income residents to bypass SB2's $75 fee)

SB 167, would strengthen the state’s 35-year-old Housing Accountability Act, known colloquially as the “anti-NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) Act.” Cities that don’t comply with a court order to allow development would be hit with automatic fines of $10,000 per housing unit.

SB 540, allows cities to determine where housing needs to be built and to create a specific plan for development in that zone, including public hearings and environmental reviews. This is intended to speed up the approval and construction process. Would allow cities to borrow money from the state to plan neighborhoods as zones for affordable housing. Once the planning is done, approval of such projects would be fast-tracked.

AB 181(held)would double the state tax credit that low- and middle-income renters receive to $240 for married couples and $120 for single filers. 

AB 53 (held) would allow couples to save up to $20,000 tax free — $10,000 for individuals — toward the purchase of a principal residence.

AB 71 eliminates the state portion of that tax break for second, vacation homes and redirect the approximately $300 million it costs the state annually toward financing low-income housing instead.


AB 15051506(in process) and 1521, would increase low-income RENTAL housing by allowing cities to

  1. force developers to build more low-income rentals as part of their projects,

  2. expand rent control and

  3. protect aging affordable housing stock from going back on the market,


AB 1505, allows cities to force developers to set aside a certain number of homes in their projects for low-income residents. Would allow the state Department of Housing and Community Development to review proposed local ordinances to ensure that the cities don't use these rules to block all development.

Based on a law in Massachusetts, AB 1585 cancelled) would introduce an out-of-court state appeals board for developers whose low-income housing was rejected.

AB 72678 and SB 167 would strengthen and add money to enforce a state law that prohibits cities from denying low-income housing projects. The Housing Accountability Act passed in 1982 prohibits cities from saying no to housing projects that meet zoning requirements simply because they don’t like them. But such cases are hard to prove. These Bills will beef up the existing law by making it easier for developers to prove a city acted in bad faith when denying a project, and by upping a city’s penalty to $10,000 per unit they rejected.

AB 352would force cities to permit tiny apartments — as small as 150 square feet — as a way to house people more affordably. Many cities now require units to be larger.

Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4  (held) would make it easier for local governments to raise taxes or pass bond measures to fund low-income housing. Her proposal would lower the margin needed to pass such measures from a two-thirds supermajority to 55%. This would also go on the 2018 ballot.

  • Housing Bills Details

  • SB 2 (Atkins): The Building Homes and Jobs Act

    SB 2 would create a permanent revenue stream for affordable housing funded through a new $75 document recording fee on certain real estate transactions, excluding home sales. The fee is capped at $225 per transaction. It is estimated to generate $200 million - $300 million annually on a statewide basis to be appropriated for housing-related purposes.


    In the first year, 50 percent of the funds would be reserved for local agencies to assist in planning to accelerate housing production. The Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) would be required to allocate the other 50 percent to assist persons experiencing or at risk of homelessness.


    Beginning in 2019, 70 percent of fee proceeds would be available to local governments, distributed primarily via formula to cities and counties. Though not identical, the specified formulas are related to the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) distributions. Staff anticipates Bay Area jurisdictions would receive approximately 20 percent of these formula dollars, based on fiscal year 2016 CDBG allocation data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. HCD would also allocate a portion of the proceeds to small cities and counties. Funds could support a range of activities, including preservation and creation of low- to moderate-income housing, combatting homelessness, and homeownership support. In order to receive allocations, local governments would be required to develop an expenditure plan and comply with other applicable HCD reporting requirements. HCD would administer the remaining 30 percent of revenues to fund farmworker and mixed-income housing and fiscal incentives or matching funds for local agencies to support more affordable housing. Additionally, 20 percent of total program funds must be expended for affordable owner-occupied workforce housing.


    Of note, a related bill, AB 166 (Salas), would exempt low-income homeowners from paying the SB 2 document recording fee, if they meet certain “hardship” requirements. The bill was under consideration as part of the larger housing package, but did not pass the Assembly by the September 15th deadline. According to the author’s office, an agreement was reached with legislative leadership and the Governor’s office to take up the bill early next year.


    ABAG has no position on SB 2. MTC has a support position on SB 2.


    SB 3 (Beall): The Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018

    SB 3 would authorize a $4 billion general obligation bond for housing, subject to voter approval. Similar to Proposition 46 (2002) and Proposition 1C (2006), bond proceeds would fund a range of affordable housing preservation and construction activities, including park and infrastructure investments to facilitate transit- oriented development and infill development. It would also subsidize home loans for California veterans.

    Funds would be allocated to existing programs as follows:

    • Multifamily Housing Program ($1.5 billion)

    • Cal-Vet Home Loan Program ($1 billion)

    • Local Housing Trust Fund Matching Grant Program ($300 million)

    • Infill Incentive Grant Program ($300 million)

    • Joe Serna, Jr. Farmworker Housing Grant Fund ($300 million)

    • CalHome Program ($300 million)

    • Transit-Oriented Development Implementation Program ($150 million)

    • Home Purchase Assistance Program ($150 million)

    The Local Housing Trust Fund Matching Grant (LHTF), Infill Incentive Grant (IIG) and Transit-Oriented Development Implementation (TOD Housing) programs were established more than a decade ago and funded by Proposition 1C bond proceeds. HCD administers these programs and awards funds on a competitive basis. The LHTF Program provides matching grants (dollar for dollar) to local housing trust funds that are funded on an ongoing basis from private contributions or public sources that are not otherwise restricted in use for housing programs. The IIG Program provides gap funding to developers and/or local governments for infrastructure improvements necessary to facilitate new infill housing development. Project examples include development or rehabilitation of parks or open space; water, sewer or other utility service improvements; and transportation infrastructure improvements required as a condition of, or approved in connection with, certain infill housing developments. Similarly, the TOD Housing Program provides grants to local governments, as well as other eligible applicants, for infrastructure improvements necessary for the development of specified housing projects. The program may also directly fund transit-oriented affordable housing development and homeownership assistance.

    The Bay Area grant share ranged between 37 percent to 53 percent of total program funding in each of the program’s most recent award years (2014 for the LHTF and IGG Programs and 2015 for the TOD Housing Program).


    ABAG and MTC have a “support” position on SB 3.


    SB 35 (Wiener): Housing for a Growing California

    SB 35 would expedite approval of qualified zoning-compliant projects in a local jurisdiction that falls short of its Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) target until their RHNA goals are met. Specifically, the bill would allow a qualified multifamily housing development project to be approved on the basis of a ministerial approval, rather than a conditional use permit if it satisfies a detailed list of objective planning standards, as described below. The bill would also ease parking minimums for eligible developments and make updates to HCD’s annual housing reporting requirements for cities and counties, which would bring the rest of the state more in line with Bay Area reporting practices.


    Applicability of Streamlining Provisions and RHNA

    Jurisdictions that are on track to meet RNHA housing goals within a given income category would continue to retain full control of project approvals for projects in that category, in contrast to Governor Brown’s 2016 “by-right” proposal, which would have applied regardless of how a jurisdiction was performing with respect to its RHNA goals. As a region, the Bay Area permitted 57 percent of the total units needed to meet housing targets for the 2007-2014 RHNA cycle, but only 26 percent of the needed low-income units. Notably, there was significant variation within local jurisdictions and between income categories with countywide averages ranging from 9 percent in the “very low-income” category to 109 percent in the “above moderate-income” category.

    Project Eligibility – Objective Planning Standards

    In order to qualify for a ministerial permit review, a project would be required to meet a long list of conditions and objective planning standards. The project must be located in one of the following:

    • A jurisdiction HCD has deemed eligible because the locality issued less building permits than the number required to meet its RNHA targets for a four-year reporting period; or

    • A jurisdiction that has not submitted the annual housing element report for two consecutive years before the development submitted an application for streamlined ministerial approval.

    In addition, the project must be a multifamily development, the developer of the project must certify that a prevailing wage requirement (this might deter most projects) is included in all contracts for the performance of the work, and the project must be:

    • located on a parcel that is zoned for residential or residential mixed-use development, with at least two-thirds of the square footage of the development designated for residential use;

    • located in an urban area or urban cluster on a site in which at least 75 percent of the perimeter adjoins parcels that are developed with urban uses;

    • located outside all of the 11 environmentally-sensitive areas listed in the bill, including the California coastal zone, wetlands, prime farmland, protected lands, and designated hazard areas;

    • a development that does not require the demolition of a national, state or local historic structure, affordable housing, or rental units; and

    • consistent with objective zoning standards and objective design review standards in effect at the time of the application’s submittal.

    1. Developments that meet the above requirements and are in jurisdictions not meeting RHNA goals for low- income housing
      would be required to make at least 50 percent of new units affordable for households earning below 80 percent area median income (AMI).

    2. Projects built in jurisdictions not meeting market-rate RNHA development goals would be required to, at a minimum, dedicate 10 percent of the total number of units to housing affordable to households earning below 80 percent AMI.

    To address concerns by affordable housing advocates that the bill could weaken inclusionary zoning or density bonus requirements in effect today, the bill conditions eligibility for streamlining on minimum affordability standards for housing developments in localities that do not already have such policies, but would not preempt stronger local policies in any jurisdiction that has adopted them.

    ABAG and MTC have no position on SB 35.


    SB 166 (Skinner): Residential density and affordability

    SB 166 would modify the No Net Loss Zoning law to require a local government to ensure that its housing element inventory or housing element program make sites available that can accommodate, at all times through the planning period, its unmet regional housing need at all income levels, with certain exceptions.

                ABAG and MTC have no position on SB 166.


    SB 167 (Skinner)/AB 678 (Bocanegra): Housing Accountability Act

    SB 167 and AB 678 are identical bills which would each amend the Housing Accountability Act (HAA) by increasing the legal standard of proof required for a local agency to justify a denial of an affordable housing development project from “substantial evidence” to “preponderance of evidence” and imposing a minimum $10,000 per unit fine if the court finds a violation of the HAA, among other changes.

     ABAG has an “oppose” position on SB 167. MTC has no position on SB 167.

    SB 540 (Roth): Workforce Opportunity Zone

    SB 540 (Roth) would authorize local governments to establish “workforce housing opportunity zones” by adopting a specific plan for the area covered by the zone. Environmental review and public engagement would occur up front during the establishment of the workforce housing opportunity zone. After specific plan adoption, a local agency would be prohibited from denying a development proposal meeting certain criteria within the area, including affordability and prevailing wage requirements. The bill would also authorize the state to provide financial assistance, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to local governments to support the creation of specific plans. SB 540 is sponsored by the League of California Cities.

    • At least 30% of the total units in the zone will be sold or rented to persons and families of moderate income, or persons and families of middle income;

    • at least 15% of the total units will be sold or rented to lower income households ; and

    • at least 5% will be restricted for a term of 55 years for very low income households. 

    • No more than 50%  shall be sold or rented to persons and families of above moderate income.

    ABAG and MTC have no position on SB 540.


    AB 72 (Santiago)

    AB 72 would provide HCD new authority to review any action by a city, county, or city and county that it determines is inconsistent with an adopted housing element, allows HCD to find a housing element out of substantial compliance, and permits HCD to notify the Attorney General of violations of the law.

    ABAG and MTC have no position on AB 72.


    AB 73 (Chiu): Housing Sustainability District

    AB 73 would provide incentive funding to local governments that voluntarily establish "housing sustainability districts" (HSD) in which housing projects are subject to a ministerial, or “by-right” approval process and subject to prevailing wage requirements. Specifically, the bill would authorize a city or county to adopt an ordinance establishing an HSD, upon approval from HCD and after conducting upfront zoning and environmental review. The HSD must meet minimum density, affordability, and relocation assistance requirements and be located in an area well-suited for residential or mixed-use development. Incentive payments would be issued in two stages: first, following the creation of a new district and second, once the city permits new housing units.

    ABAG and MTC have no position on AB 73.


    AB 571 (E. Garcia): Farmworker housing tax credits

    AB 571 would make changes to the farmworker housing set-aside from the state low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program, the state’s complement to the federal LIHTC program. Since 1996, $500,000 in LIHTC allocations have been reserved for farmworker housing. According to the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee bill analysis, the farmworker housing set-aside has been underutilized in recent years; there is currently $5.5 million available, yet since 2008 only one applicant has successfully sought the credit. AB 571 would make several changes intended to make projects more feasible and increase the supply of farmworker housing, including increased flexibility related to occupancy requirements and expanded eligibility for state credits.

    ABAG and MTC have no position on AB 571.


    AB 879 (Grayson): Planning and zoning – housing element

    AB 879 would make changes to housing element law to require a city, in its analysis of governmental constraints, to include an analysis of any currently-authorized, locally-adopted ordinances that directly impact the cost and supply of residential development. Additionally, the bill would provide HCD new authority to evaluate the reasonableness of local fees charged to new developments. The League of California Cities is the bill sponsor.


    ABAG and MTC have no position on AB 879.


    AB 1397 (Low): Inventory of land for residential development

    AB 1397 would make a number of changes to housing element law by revising what may be included in a jurisdiction’s inventory of land suitable for residential development. The changes would require parcels on a jurisdiction's Housing Element site list to have “realistic and demonstrated potential” for development during the planning period. For example, parcels in the inventory would be required to have sufficient water, sewer, and dry utilities infrastructure to support housing development or be included in a jurisdiction’s existing general plan program or other mandatory plan – including a public or private utility provider’s plan – to secure sufficient infrastructure to support housing development.

    ABAG and MTC have no position on AB 1397.


    AB 1505 (Bloom): Palmer Fix

    Assembly Bill 1505 would affirm the right of a local jurisdiction to establish, as a condition of development, inclusionary housing ordinances. According to the ABAG regional housing policy inventory, 78 Bay Area jurisdictions utilize an inclusionary or below market rate housing policy as an affordable housing production strategy. However, the ability of Bay Area jurisdictions to implement inclusionary requirements specifically for rental housing was adversely impacted in 2009 with the California Appellate Court ruling in Palmer/Sixth Street Properties, L.P. v. City of Los Angeles (Palmer), which found that rental inclusionary requirements conflict with state rent control regulations. AB 1505, known as the “Palmer Fix,” would clarify that local jurisdictions may require, as a condition of approval, inclusion of affordable units in a multi-family residential rental development.


    Recent amendments to AB 1505 would authorize HCD to assess certain new inclusionary policies for their impact. In short, jurisdictions would need to demonstrate that the policies will not limit new market rate development. HCD's review authority would be triggered if both the proposed inclusionary rate is above 15% affordable and the policy is in a jurisdiction that is not making progress toward meeting at least 75% of the jurisdictions’ market rate (above moderate-income) RHNA. If HCD determines the policy would inhibit market rate housing development, the policy would need to be revised to require no more than 15% of new rental units in a new development meet affordability restrictions.

    ABAG has a “support” position on AB 1505. MTC has no position on AB 1505.


    AB 1515 (Daly): Planning and zoning - housing

    AB 1515 would make changes to the Housing Accountability Act to require that a housing development or emergency shelter be deemed consistent, compliant, and in conformity with an applicable plan if there is substantial evidence that would allow a reasonable person to conclude that to be the case.

    ABAG and MTC have no position on AB 1515.


    AB 1521 (Bloom): Land use: notice of proposed change: assisted housing developments

    AB 1521 would make changes to the state’s Affordable Housing Preservation Law by requiring owners of certain expiring affordable rental properties to accept any market-rate purchase offer from a qualified preservation entity that intends to maintain the property’s affordability restrictions. Current state law provides preservation purchasers limited priority to purchase affordable rental properties, if the owner intends to sell. AB 1521 would go further by establishing a right of first refusal for qualified housing agencies or organizations intending to purchase the housing developments at fair market value and maintain affordability. The bill additionally requires HCD to monitor compliance with the law and allows affected tenants and local governments the right to enforce the law.

    ABAG and MTC have no position on AB 1521.


    Affordable Housing  -- like it or not.

    precis of article by  | Sept. 28, 2017 |                      source CALMATTERS

    “The idea is that we have to comply with these laws of the state of California now,” said Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, whose city has been defined for years by fights between pro- and slow-development forces. “And so how can we comply…but also preserve some degree of local control?”

    The tension between cities’ traditional prerogative over local land use and the state’s broader interest in more housing for dwelling-strapped California framed much of the housing debate in Sacramento this year. Now officials in San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Redondo Beach and other locales are exploring how to work within the new rules—on their own terms.

    A pair of bills offer the promise of fresh dollars for affordable housing construction via a new fee (SB2) on real estate documents and a 2018 bond  (SB3) measure. Those proposals have earned the plaudits of local elected leaders and governance groups across the state, including the League of California Cities.

    But like most local leaders, Arreguín also has his share of reservations, especially about measures that could make it more difficult to deny new projects they disapprove of. One would require (SB35) cities that aren’t meeting their state-determined targets for housing production to offer developers an alternative, “streamlined” approval process. To qualify for fast-track treatment, new housing developments would have to meet current zoning standards, set aside a certain share of below-market units and pay their workers union wages.

    How many developers will be willing to tick those boxes is unclear, but proponents call streamlining a necessary measure to bypass NIMBY obstructionism. Many cities call it a usurpation of local authority.

    Another measure (SB167) would make it harder for cities to deny new housing projects if they otherwise comply with local rules, and would raise the penalty for municipalities that wrongly do so.

    The city of Berkeley did not officially adopt a position on either bill while lawmakers were considering them. But a local response is now in the works. Arreguín said he is developing a Berkeley-specific streamlining process that would be available to developers in addition to the new state process. His alternative is still in its early stages, but the mayor hopes it will steer developers toward low- and moderate-income projects and those providing additional community benefits that are still undefined. The city’s planning commission is also working on tighter zoning laws that would feature new  density requirements and design standards while staying in tune with state law. “If we set local requirements that still give the city some flexibility in shaping—not denying—but shaping projects, we can ensure compliance with [new laws] and still maintain some degree of control,” Arreguín said.

    A similar conversation is taking place across San Francisco Bay in Corte Madera, a small town in Marin County. Ever since the town approved a 180-unit apartment complex along Highway 101 over the vociferous objections of some community members, Vice  Mayor Carla Condon said the town is looking for less obtrusive ways to expand the housing stock. One option the town is considering is to waive fees and loosen regulations on secondary dwellings, those fashioned within or near a main home. This might make it easier to convert a basement into an apartment or build a tiny house in a backyard. “We’re doing our best to be compliant but also to try to maintain the small-town character that everybody really cherishes in this community,” Condon said. It’s not clear that secondary units will accommodate the town’s housing needs indefinitely. But for now, Condon says, Corte Madera is producing more housing than the state requires.

    While Berkeley and Corte Madera try to thread the needle between new state mandates and local interests, other cities are considering blunter instruments.

    Last week, Redondo Beach placed a 10-and-a-half month-long moratorium on new mixed-use development projects. According to Nils Nehrenheim, a city council member and local slow-growth activist, the ban has been in the works for years but now comes in the nick of time. “Thankfully, we’re starting this this month,” he said.  The city attorney’s office and the Department of Community Development are looking into how the various housing bills would affect planning decisions. The goal, Nehrenheim said, is “to learn if we can mitigate some of these issues.” City leaders have also discussed pushing back against the state’s housing-production targets, though it isn’t yet clear how. “We’re going to have to start having more conversations with state legislators” about adjusting those targets, said Nehrenheim. “We’re all very concerned about the loss of local control—no matter what side of the issue you stand on in terms of development.”

    Local lawmakers often face tremendous pressure to block, stall or renegotiate unpopular projects. Soon they won’t have as much power to respond to that pressure—and that isn’t necessary a bad thing, said Aaron Gomez, who sits on the City Council in San Luis Obispo. Decisions about land use inevitably leave some constituents unhappy. Mandatory streamlining may allow local lawmakers to blame the state if faced with angry voters. “I do like the political cover of that,” said Gomez. “It just limits that conversation.”

    Others have quietly stomached any threat to their authority over planning as the price of the help they need.

    “Philosophically, we don’t want the state to necessarily be encroaching on this part of the work that we do as a city,” said Jacky Morales-Ferrand, Director of Housing for the city of San Jose. But, she said, the city “wanted to create a path forward for some of those signature housing bills that we’ve been waiting on for a long time.”

    Chief among them is one (AB1505) that would effectively reverse a 2009 California court decision that barred cities from forcing rental-property developers to offer a certain number of new units at below-market rates. Cities across the Bay Area, in Los Angeles and even in rural communities such as Tuolumne County are all now dusting off and reexamining their old inclusionary-housing ordinances.

    Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed (AB1229) a similar bill in 2013. Even so, the city of San Jose is already planning for his approval. Morales-Ferrand said she hopes the city will “turn on” the policy as soon as January 1st.

    On Brown's Desk Sep 2017


    • Senate Bill 54 was the most closely watched immigration bill of the session. If signed, it will tighten limitations on law enforcement’s ability to work with and communicate with federal immigration officials.
    • SB 29 would bar local governments from entering into new contracts to detain immigrants facing deportation for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Eleven municipalities already have such contracts and would be prohibited from expanding their existing contracts as they come up for renewal. It would not prevent private companies from having their own contracts with ICE, such as the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego, owned and operated by CoreCivic (formerly CCA). If the bill is signed, it would also empower the state attorney general to inspect conditions for immigrant detainees in jails and private prisons in California.
    • SB 257 would allow the U.S. citizen children of deported parents to continue to attend local schools.
    • Assembly Bill 21 is a response to the elimination of DACA. If signed, the bill would require that California State University and community colleges have policies to ensure that undocumented students have access to financial aid, legal representation and their right to due process. It also would create a framework for how institutions of higher learning interact with ICE, such as prohibiting the disclosure of the immigration status of undocumented students, faculty and staff.
    • AB 291 would prohibit landlords or property managers from disclosing, or threatening to disclose, a tenant’s immigration status to any immigration authority.
    • AB 450 would require employers to ask ICE for a warrant before a workplace raid, and it would require employers to give employees advance notice of ICE actions.


    On Friday Sep 15th 2017, the Senate gave final passage to a trio of high-profile housing bills that aim to increase California’s housing supply and help more Californians afford a home. A dozen more are headed to the governor’s desk in response to the state’s housing crisis.

    • SB 3 is a $4 billion bond measure aimed to go before voters in November 2018
    • SB 2 would provide hundreds of millions of dollars for affordable housing construction through a $75 fee on real estate transactions.
    • SB 35 aims to kick start hosing development in communities that are not keeping up with their own housing consruction promises. It would bypass some local reviews for developments in communities that have fallen behind on regional housing goals.

    Health Care 

    • SB 17 aims to shed more life on one year after its authored abandoned the bill because it had been so dramatically changed by other Democrats


    • SB 595 provides for a Bay Area-wide vote on a toll increase of up to $3 on the region’s seven state-owned toll bridges. The vote, to be held sometime in 2018, would raise funds to support $4.45 billion in transit and highway projects.
    • AB 544 extends a state program that allows solo drivers in electric cars to use high-occupany vehicles (a.k.a. carpool) lanes on the state’s freeways.
    • SB 65 outlaws smoking pot while driving or riding in cars. The bill, signed by Gov. Brown earlier this week, adds marijuana consumption to the law prohibiting alcohol consumption, which is an infraction currently punishable with a base fine of $70.
    • AB 1393 requires that a vehicle be impounded for 30 days if the vehicle’s registered owner is convicted of second or subsequent offense for reckless driving or engaging in a speed contest while operating the vehicle.
    • SB 182 bars cities and counties from requiring ride-service drivers, like those working for Lyft and Uber, to obtain more than one business license regardless of how many jurisdiction they operate in. A local government could require business license only for drivers who live in its jurisdiction.

    Criminal Justice 

    • SB 190 Like the next two below, this measure is part of a criminal justice reform package from Sens. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). The measure ends the assessment of fees on parents with kids in the juvenile justice system. In the last year, five Bay Area counties (including Alameda and Santa Clara) chose to stop collecting the fees on their own.
    • SB 393 Californians who were arrested but not convicted of a crime would be allowed to petition the court to seal their records, and avoid having a past arrest hurt their chances of getting employment or housing.
    • SB 395 The bill would require that juveniles consult with an attorney before waiving their Miranda rights and talking with law enforcement.


    • SB 63 A similar effort to expand parental leave requirements to California small businesses was vetoed by the governor last year. This year’s version, which would require companies with between 20 and 49 workers to provide three months of job-protected leave, is expected to be signed. The creation of a mediation board to hear disputes between workers and employers was added to the bill to address concerns of excessive litigation against small businesses.
    • AB 168 This bill bans employers from requesting the pay history of a job applicant, in an effort to stop companies from basing compensation on past pay, a factor that has been cited in the gender pay gap between men and women. The bill also gives workers the right to see the pay scale for a position.
    • AB 1008 Statewide ‘ban-the-box’ legislation would ban most companies from asking about a prospective employee’s criminal history on their initial application. The measure has an exemption for small businesses.


    • SB 149 In response to the campaign of President Donald Trump, this bill would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the ballot in California.
    • SB 568 The latest effort to change the date of California’s presidential primary, is the latest effort to make the state more relevant in primary campaigns. Prior attempts to make California a player in primary politics ran into issues of cost, and didn’t always result in meaningful votes.


    27 other Bills Into Law Sep 2017

  • AB 242 by Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) – Certificates of death: veterans.
  • AB 395 by Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) – Substance use treatment providers.
  • AB 400 by Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) – Crimes: alcoholic beverages: State Capitol.
  • AB 593 by Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) – Structural Fumigation Enforcement Program.
  • AB 711 by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell) – Beer manufacturers: free or discounted rides.
  • AB 1108 by Assemblymember Tom F. Daly (D-Anaheim) – Self-service storage facilities.
  • AB 1398 by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) – Annuities: cash surrender benefits.
  • AB 1487 by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona) – Public Employees’ Retirement System: limited term appointments.
  • AB 1504 by Assemblymember Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) – State parks: concessions: contracts.
  • AB 1613 by Assemblymember Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) – San Mateo County Transit District: retail transactions and use tax.
  • SB 65 by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) – Vehicles: alcohol and marijuana: penalties.
  • SB 157 by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) – Invasion of privacy: distribution of sexually explicit materials: protection of plaintiff’s identity.
  • SB 335 by Senator Anthony J. Cannella (R-Ceres) – Nursery Advisory Board.
  • SB 401 by Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) – Child care facilities: state employees.
  • SB 407 by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) – Common interest developments: noncommercial solicitation.
  • SB 410 by Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) – Civil service: veterans’ hiring preference: active duty members.
  • SB 427 by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) – Public water systems: community water systems: lead user service lines.
  • SB 455 by Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) – Pupil enrollment: military dependents.
  • SB 489 by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) – Workers’ compensation: change of physician.
  • SB 525 by Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) – Public employees’ retirement.
  • SB 554 by Senator Jeff E. Stone (R-Temecula) – Nurse practitioners: physician assistants: buprenorphine.
  • SB 628 by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) – Local educational agencies: governing board elections: Los Angeles Community College District.
  • SB 654 by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) – Local moratorium: gambling tables.
  • SB 666 by Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) – California Gambling Control Commission and Department of Justice: postemployment restrictions.
  • SB 684 by Senator Patricia C. Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) – Incompetence to stand trial: conservatorship: treatment.
  • SB 704 by Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) – Division of Boating and Waterways: invasive aquatic plants control programs.
  • SB 764 by Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) – Real estate trust fund accounts: fidelity insurance.
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