Governor Signs Legislation Enacting Significant Amendments to SB 35, Increasing Opportunities for Development of Multi-Family Housing (Part III)

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Authored by Senator Scott Wiener, and signed into law on October 11 by Governor Newsom, Senate Bill (“SB”) 423 amends Senator Wiener’s 2017 landmark housing bill SB 35. In Part I of this Client Alert, we reported on SB 423’s revisions regarding the circumstances triggering SB 35 streamlining and the criteria for project eligibility. In Part II of this Client Alert, we summarized SB 423’s revisions to SB 35’s labor requirements. In this final installment, we provide a summary of SB 423’s more procedural and technical revisions.

  • Local Approval Authority. SB 35 currently requires a local government to determine whether a project is consistent with applicable objective standards. SB 423 clarifies that this determination must be made by “a local government’s planning director or equivalent position,” notwithstanding any local law. The bill also clarifies that “all departments of the local government” that are required to issue an approval of the development prior to the granting of an entitlement” must comply with the requirements of SB 35 within the time periods provided.
  • Elimination of Public Oversight Meetings. SB 35 currently permits local agencies subject to SB 35 streamlining to conduct “design review or public oversight” of a development within specified time frames. SB 423 eliminates references to “public oversight,” but retains references to design review.
  • Limit on Required Studies. SB 423 adds a new prohibition restricting local governments from requiring any of the following items prior to approving an SB 35 development:
    • Studies, information, or other materials that do not pertain directly to determining whether the development is consistent with the objective planning standards applicable to the development.
    • Compliance with any standards necessary to receive a post entitlement permit.
  • Unit Counts. SB 423 adds new guidance for determining the total number of units in a development for purposes of SB 35, clarifying that a development project includes both of the following:
    • “All projects developed on a site, regardless of when those developments occur.”
    • “All projects developed on sites adjacent to a site developed pursuant to this chapter if, after January 1, 2023, the adjacent site had been subdivided from the site developed pursuant to this chapter.”
  • Public Meeting Requirement for Properties Designated in the CTCAC/HCD Opportunity Map:
    • SB 423 adds additional public meeting requirements for “developments that are proposed in a census tract that is designated either as a moderate resource area, low resource area, or an area of high segregation and poverty on the most recent ‘CTCAC/HCD Opportunity Map’ published by the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee and the Department of Housing and Community Development.”
      • The jurisdiction must hold a public meeting within 45 days after receiving a notice of intent pursuant to SB 35 and before the development proponent submits an application for the proposed development to provide an opportunity for the public and the local government to comment on the development.
      • The development proponent must attest in writing that it attended the meeting and reviewed the testimony and comments.
      • If the local government fails to hold the public meeting, the development proponent must hold a public meeting.
    • UC Berkeley provides a mapping tool that allows the public to view which properties are mapped. A significant number of properties (both in coastal, urban, and inland areas) fall within the categories of moderate resource area, low resource area, or an area of high segregation and poverty, and as a result this additional public meeting requirement will apply broadly to eligible SB 35 projects.

Prior CCN Alerts on SB 35:

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