Housing, Earthquake Bills Among Last Signed, Vetoed by Governor Brown
Governor Brown acted on bills for the final time on September 30, signing into law five housing-related bills that will affect housing production and zoning requirements in the Bay Area, while vetoing two seismic safety bills. In all, Governor Brown acted on 183 bills for California over the weekend as he cleared his desk of bills for the last time after four terms as governor and 16 years of legislative action.
On the housing front, the governor signed the following five bills:
- AB 2923 (Chiu): San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District: transit-oriented development.
- Requires the BART board to adopt new transit-oriented development guidelines that establish minimum local zoning requirements for BART-owned land near BART stations, in areas having representation on the BART board of directors. The newly signed law allows the elected BART board to set zoning standards such as density, heights and parking ratios on the land that it owns within San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties (as these are the counties that have elected BART board representatives). MTC supported this bill after securing a number of amendments, while ABAG had an “oppose unless amended” position.
- SB 828 (Wiener): Land use: housing element.
- Requires a city or county to adopt a general plan for its jurisdiction that contains certain mandatory elements, including a housing element. MTC and ABAG supported this bill.
- AB 1771 (Bloom): Planning and zoning: regional housing needs assessment.
- Requires counties and cities to adopt a comprehensive, long-term plan for the physical development of the county or city and certain land outside its boundaries that includes, among other specified mandatory elements, a housing element. ABAG had an “oppose unless amended” position on this bill.
- AB 686 (Santiago): Housing discrimination: affirmatively further fair housing.
- Requires each city and county to include an analysis and action plan to combat housing discrimination as part of its general plan. ABAG was neutral on this bill after securing a number of amendments to address its concerns.
- AB 2372 (Gloria): Planning and zoning: density bonus: floor area ratio bonus.
- Authorizes a city council or county board of supervisors to establish a floor area ratio (FAR) bonus policy that a developer could chose to use, in lieu of a density bonus, thereby enabling a developer to increase the number of units by sizing units smaller, rather than making buildings taller. A developer using an FAR bonus is also given the option of calculating impact fees based on square feet rather than on a per unit basis. ABAG had a “support and seek amendment” position on the bill.
Among the bills vetoed by Governor Brown on Friday were two earthquake-related bills supported by ABAG:
- AB 2681 (Nazarian): Seismic safety: potentially vulnerable buildings.
- Would have required the building departments of cities and counties in seismically active areas to create an inventory of potentially vulnerable buildings.
- Read the Governor’s veto message on AB 2681.
- AB 1857 (Nazarian): Building codes: earthquake safety: immediate occupancy standard.
- Would have required the California Building Standards Commission to convene a working group to evaluate the creation of a new standard to minimize structural building damage from earthquakes.
- Read the Governor’s veto message on AB 1857.
Another bill relevant to ABAG that did get signed is AB 1912 (Rodriguez): Public employees’ retirement: joint powers agreements: liability. In broad terms, this bill requires that member agencies of a joint powers agreement (JPA) assume mutual liability for the retirement obligations of the JPA and requiring apportionment of retirement liability among JPA member agencies if the JPA’s agreement with CalPERS is terminated or the JPA dissolves.