March 9, 2023

Utilizing California’s State Housing Bills to Combat the Housing Crisis

The rising need for housing has become a pressing issue in California, with skyrocketing housing costs and limited affordable housing options for low and middle-income families. However, the good news is that the state has recently implemented several new housing bills, including SB35 and the State Density Bonus, which could help increase the supply of new housing units in California.

SB35, also known as the Housing Accountability Act, was enacted in 2018 to streamline the approval process for new housing developments in cities that are not meeting their state-mandated housing goals. The law applies to projects that meet certain requirements, including being located in urban infill areas, having a minimum of 10% affordable housing units, and complying with zoning and environmental regulations.

By using SB35, developers can bypass some of the hurdles that can delay or halt the approval process, such as local opposition, lengthy environmental reviews, and discretionary permitting. This can significantly reduce the time and costs associated with developing new housing units, allowing for faster and more efficient construction of much-needed affordable housing in urban areas.

Another tool that can be utilized to increase housing density is the State Density Bonus law, which allows developers to increase the number of units they can build in exchange for providing affordable housing units. The law provides developers with a density bonus of up to 35% for developments that include a minimum of 10% affordable housing units. This means that a developer who would typically be allowed to build 100 units on a given site can now build up to 135 units if they provide 10 affordable units.

Furthermore, the law also provides additional concessions and incentives, such as reduced parking requirements and increased building height allowances, to encourage developers to include even more affordable housing units. This can help create more affordable housing options for low and middle-income families, while also increasing the overall supply of housing units in high-demand areas.

In conclusion, the rising need for housing in California can be addressed by utilizing the state’s new housing bills, such as SB35 and the State Density Bonus. By streamlining the approval process and providing incentives for affordable housing, these laws can help increase the supply of new housing units in urban areas, providing much-needed relief for families struggling with high housing costs. It is crucial for developers and policymakers to take advantage of these tools to address the housing crisis and create a more equitable and affordable California for all.