SB 330 (otherwise known as the Housing Crisis Act of 2019) took effect this January 2020 in an effort to compel the approval of allowable homes and speed up construction time for desperately needed housing throughout California. Authored by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, cities will be required to allow housing developments that meet existing zoning rules. This new legislation is coming at a time when the number of residential building permits in the first six months of 2019 plummeted nearly 20% compared with the same period in 2018. California currently ranks 49th in the nation for the number of housing units per capita. This extreme scarcity has led to a median home price of more than $610,000 — far higher than many Californians can afford.
Along with paving the path for affordable to moderately-priced housing, SB 330 solves two major problems facing builders and developers alike: 1. Cities and counties often levy burdensome fees on housing projects, and those trying to build housing; and 2. Developers face lengthy processing delays for submitted applications for unknown and unsubstantiated reasons. SB 330 calls for a minimum $10,000 fine per unit for local agencies that reject an affordable housing development that otherwise meets zoning. The new law supplements other state-level initiatives to boost housing production.
Read more on Rising Costs to Develop and Build here.
Following an earlier mandate from Governor Newsom that California must zone for and approve 2.8 million new housing units by the next decade – three times what local governments had previously suggested they needed – this new legislation is designed to address this initiative and provide more certainty to developers and builders to get their projects completed. California has made headlines as a large contributor in the housing affordability crisis and is also home to a high concentration of millennials. Those millennials are now entering the marketplace as first-time homebuyers.
“Until 2025, the new law requires cities and counties to reduce the time it takes to process permits for housing that meets the local government’s existing rules, and it caps the number of public hearings on a housing project proposal at five. Cities and counties are also prohibited from hiking fees or changing permit requirements once the project applicant has submitted all the required preliminary information. SB 330 improves our odds to reach approval on our housing projects in a timelier and cost-effective manner”, commented Leah Beniston, VP of Entitlements at The True Life Companies. Bensiton is a key member of the Bay Area land team with over 26 years of experience in city planning, property entitlement, and project management.
The passing of SB 330 in California is just one of many new ballot measures coming out of California to help bring attainably priced housing to the market. Cities like San Jose, Los Angeles, and Sacramento are each in unique positions to provide development incentives for projects necessary in combating this crisis. TTLC is focused on working with these new laws and procedures while continuing our mission as we help bring solutions for attainably priced housing to the market.