The Planning and Zoning Law requires each county and city to adopt a comprehensive, long-term general plan for its physical development, and the development of certain lands outside its boundaries, that includes, among other mandatory elements, a housing element. That law allows a development proponent to submit an application for a development that is subject to a specified streamlined, ministerial approval process not subject to a conditional use permit, if the development satisfies certain objective planning standards.
Existing law, the Zenovich-Moscone-Chacon Housing and Home Finance Act, establishes the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee within the Department of Housing and Community Development. Existing law requires the committee to allocate state low-income housing tax credits in conformity with state and federal law that establishes a maximum rent that may be charged to a tenant for a project unit constructed using low-income housing tax credits.
This bill would require that a housing development project be a use by right upon the request of an applicant who submits an application for streamlined approval, on any land owned by an independent institution of higher education or religious institution on or before January 1, 2024, if the development satisfies specified criteria, including that the development is not adjoined to any site where more than one-third of the square footage on the site is dedicated to industrial use. The bill would define various terms for these purposes. Among other things, the bill would require that 100% of the units, exclusive of manager units, in a housing development project eligible for approval as a use by right under these provisions be affordable to lower income households, except that 20% of the units may be for moderate-income households, and 5% of the units may be for staff of the independent institution of higher education or the religions institution that owns the land, provided that the units affordable to lower income households are offered at affordable rent, as set in an amount consistent with the rent limits established by the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, or affordable housing cost, as specified. The bill would authorize the development to include ancillary uses on the ground floor of the development, as specified.
This bill would specify that a housing development project that is eligible for approval as a use by right under the bill is also eligible for a density bonus or other incentives or concessions, except as specified. The bill would require a development subject to these provisions to provide off-street parking of up to one space per unit, unless a local ordinance provides for a lower standard of parking, in which case the ordinance applies. The bill would prohibit a local government from imposing any parking requirement on a development subject to these provisions if the development is located within one-half mile walking distance of public transit, either a high-quality transit corridor or a major transit stop, as those terms are defined, or it is within one block of a car share vehicle.
This bill would require a local government that determines a proposed development is in conflict with any objective planning standards, as specified, to provide the developer with written documentation explaining those conflicts under a specified timeframe. The bill would provide that the development shall be deemed to satisfy the required objective planning standards if the local government fails to provide the requisite documentation explaining any conflicts. The bill would authorize a local government to conduct a design review, as described, only if the design review focuses on compliance with the requisite criteria of a streamlined, ministerial review process. The bill would prohibit a local government from using a design review, as specified, from inhibiting, chilling, or precluding a streamlined, ministerial approval. The bill would require a local government to issue a subsequent permit for developments approved under the provisions of this act.
The bill would include findings that changes proposed by this bill address a matter of statewide concern rather than a municipal affair and, therefore, apply to all cities, including charter cities.
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a lead agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and certify the completion of, an environmental impact report on a project that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a significant effect on the environment or to adopt a negative declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect. CEQA does not apply to the ministerial approval of projects.
This bill, by requiring approval of certain development projects as a use by right, would expand the exemption for ministerial approval of projects under CEQA.
By adding to the duties of local planning officials with respect to approving certain development projects, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.