Legislature Passes Council-backed Second Unit Housing Bill

The Bay Area Council today (Aug. 30) hailed the passage of SB 1069, legislation authored by state Sen. Bob Wieckowski (Fremont) that clears the way for creating tens of thousands of new affordable housing units statewide, and urged Governor Jerry Brown’s speedy signature. Sponsored by the Bay Area Council and co-authored by Assemblymembers Richard Bloom and Toni Atkins, SB 1069 responds to California’s massive housing crisis by easing steep barriers homeowners face in building second units, also known as accessory dwelling units (ADUs). In the Bay Area alone, the Council estimates that if the legislation encouraged just 10 percent of homeowners to build second units the region could gain 150,000 new affordable housing units over time.

“SB 1069 allows homeowners with too much house help those who have too little by removing unreasonable barriers to second units” said Denise Pinkston, Co-Chair of the Bay Area Council’s Housing Committee and Partner of TMG Partners. “In an historic housing shortage that is causing immense financial hardship for millions of residents, reusing unused spaces as small homes has broad support to help families, facilitate intergenerational living, and create more housing options.”

The remedies included in SB 1069 are sensible and remove the most extreme barriers to second units making it easier to house residents otherwise pushed out of the community.  SB 1069’s provisions allow accessory dwellings in existing structures with building permits without requiring more parking or new utility connections.  The bill also eases requirements for sprinklers and parking, and reduces fees. The bill now must get the signature of Governor Jerry Brown, who signaled his support for the legislation in his revised state budget released in May as one practical way to ease the housing shortage.

“Second units enable us to get more out of our existing housing stock,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “SB 1069 taps a hidden and valuable source of housing that can help meet the needs of millions of Californians who are struggling to find an affordable place to live. ADUs also provide an important source of income for many homeowners. We are grateful to Sen. Wieckowski for his tremendous leadership in drafting this legislation to address one of California’s most serious challenges. Our diverse coalition of supporters now strongly urges the Governor to sign SB 1069.”

The Bay Area Council worked with a broad coalition of groups to urge support for the bill—groups not often seen in support of the same piece of legislation, including: AARP, California Chamber of Commerce, Natural Resources Defense Council, California Teachers Association, 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, the cities of Oakland and San Francisco and many others.

Read the Floor Alert for SB 1069 describing its provisions and providing a full list of the bill’s supporters>>

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