New California State Laws for 2024

Happy New Year to our valued clients and friends!  

As Rand Paster Nelson enters its second year, we’re excited about the new state housing laws that further streamline housing development projects and address our ongoing housing crisis in California.  In 2024, RPN will continue to be on the cutting edge of implementing state housing legislation to increase the production of units.  Here are some of the bills we’re focused on in 2024:

·         AB 1287: AB 1287 amends the State Density Bonus Law, most notably to allow up to a 100% density bonus and additional incentives and concessions in exchange for both low-income and moderate-income units. AB 1287 also clarifies that the greater density prevails regardless of any inconsistencies between the zoning ordinance and general plan or specific plan. This will be a powerful tool for projects to increase densities.

·         SB 4: State Senator Scott Wiener’s “Yes in God’s Backyard” bill provides a streamlined approach for land owned on or before January 1, 2024 by faith-based and certain higher educational institutions to be developed with 100% affordable housing projects on their land. SB 4 requires ministerial approval of such projects meeting specified criteria. 

·         SB 423: Aiming to expand production of multifamily housing, SB 423 revises 2017’s SB 35 and extends it from 2026 to 2036. Some key revisions in SB 423 include the application of SB 35 to certain portions of the Coastal Zone, amendments to the labor requirements for mixed-income projects, and subjecting jurisdictions that fail to obtain a certified housing element to SB 35 streamlining.

·         AB 1449: This bill establishes a new CEQA exemption for certain actions taken by public agencies related to the approval of affordable housing projects, such as entitlements, rezoning, general and specific plan amendments, and leasing, conveying, or encumbering land. A project must meet specific affordability requirements and labor and prevailing wage standards, and the project site must qualify as an infill site in an urbanized area; within one-half mile to a high-quality transit corridor or major transit stop; a very low vehicle travel area; or proximal to six or more specific amenities identified in the bill.

·         AB 1490: Under AB 1490, the adaptive reuse of existing residential or commercial buildings currently used as hotels or motels is deemed an allowable use for 100% affordable housing projects, regardless of zoning. 

·         AB 1633: AB 1633 establishes new violations of the Housing Accountability Act for certain residential infill projects when a local agency fails to either make a determination that the project is exempt from CEQA or adopt/certify a CEQA document if substantial evidence exists supporting the exemption or adoption/certification. This bill will provide developers with additional leverage when local agencies refuse to grant a CEQA exemption even if a project qualifies. 

These are just some of the many housing-related laws that went into effect January 1, 2024. If you have questions about any of the new laws or their applicability to your projects, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We look forward to working with you and supporting your projects in 2024.