The Bay Area Council today (Sept. 27) applauded Governor Jerry Brown for signing legislation it sponsored that will make it easier, faster and less expensive for homeowners statewide to develop in-law or accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on their property.
The Council sponsored SB 1069 (Sen. Bob Wieckowski – Fremont) as an important first step to ease California’s epic housing crisis. The Council estimates that if the legislation encourages just 10 percent of homeowners to build in-law units, the Bay Area region could gain 150,000 new affordable housing units. The bill was co-authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom and Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins. The new law could lop months off the approval of ADUs and tens of thousands of dollars off the cost of fees and permits.
“The Governor’s action is an important step in addressing California’s massive housing shortage,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “The success of SB 1069 represents a major victory for thousands of Californians who are struggling under the weight of skyrocketing rents and home prices. This will create housing for teachers, nurses, family members, elders or others who want to live in a community but have been priced out. We thank Senator Wieckowski and the broad coalition of environmentalists, teachers, housing leaders, cities, social justice and business advocates who worked together to remove this small – but significant – regulatory barrier to affordable housing.”
“SB 1069 will help millions of families and seniors remain in their homes, house family and community members who would otherwise be priced out, and create gentle, affordable, and invisible infill,” said Denise Pinkston, Co-Chair of the Council’s Workforce Housing Committee and a Partner of TMG Partners. “The Legislature and Governor have empowered homeowners to help ease California’s housing shortage. By easing regulatory barriers and allowing ADUs with a simple building permit, SB 1069 allows homeowners to easily and economically carve out a separate space in their home or upgrade a garage or shed to create livable space that we so badly need.”
SB 1069 follows recommendations from UC Berkeley and UCLA to reduce barriers that prevent homeowners from legally adding ADUs. The bill will allow the utilization of existing homes and structures to provide fast and affordable housing invisibly in existing neighborhoods by limiting requirements for setbacks, parking, sprinklers, utility fees, and a protracted process with a building permit. Expanding in-law units also can help the state achieve its climate change goals by avoiding sprawl and the long automobile commutes that come with it.
With housing among its top 2016 policy priorities, the Bay Area Council over many months mounted an aggressive advocacy campaign in support of SB 1069 as it worked its way through the Legislature. The Council assembled a large and diverse coalition of groups to urge support for the bill—groups and employers not often seen in support of the same piece of legislation– including: AARP, California Teachers Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Western Center on Law and Poverty, Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield, UPS, Virgin America, Facebook, Yelp, MTC, SPUR, Bridge Housing, California Infill Builders Federation, the Greenbelt Alliance, and the mayors of Oakland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles and dozens more groups and individuals.