Council-Backed Housing Reforms Hitting Home

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A raft of housing reforms that the Bay Area Council has played a leading role in getting through the legislature in recent years are starting to hit home. The reforms are aimed at overcoming local resistance to new housing, easing regulatory barriers and lowering excessive permitting and other administrative costs that are largely responsible for California’s historic housing crisis.

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle this week highlighted the effect that new laws like SB35 and SB330 are having in cities across the region and the state in overcoming local resistance to projects that meet zoning and other regulations. Council member Holland & Knight’s Jennifer Hernandez shared how the new state laws have “very much narrowed the lawful reasons cities and counties can deny projects that comply with zoning and the general plan.” For cities that have not met their housing obligations in the lower and moderate-income level based on recent years of permitting activity, SB 35 streamlines housing approvals. SB 330, or the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, is designed to speed up housing construction during the next half-decade by slashing the time it takes to obtain building permits, limiting fee increases on housing applications, and barring local governments from shrinking the project proposal.

However, the article also underscored that community outreach is more important than ever, and good developers should demonstrate community buy-in for the project. For this reason, we encourage you to join the Bay Area Council in advocating for the approval of Terraces of Lafayette, a 315-unit Council-endorsed project that has been stalled for years. The City Council has the opportunity to make final approvals on Monday at 4:00pm. Otherwise, the developer has some statewide tools in their toolbox to ensure much needed housing is built in Lafayette.  Draft support letter for The Terraces of Lafayette>>

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