Affordable Housing Update: State Decision Still Pending

The California State Legislature adjourned August 31 without considering what could have been the most impactful reform of the session – the Governor’s housing proposal. The Chamber was supportive of the proposed framework, which could help to accelerate and increase public transit-oriented development and affordable housing development projects.

If Governor Brown’s legislation passes, new projects with 20 percent affordable housing or 10 percent near public transit would be exempt from most local reviews. As research has already shown, San Diego’s housing regulations contribute to 40 percent of housing costs, and 21 percent of San Diego’s households are priced out of the market.

But, the politics surrounding the affordable housing legislation are also complex. The solution for affordable housing consists of two elements – subsidies for developers and permitting reform. Governor Brown agreed to subsidies in the budget but made their actual appropriation contingent on the enactment of an affordable housing permitting reform bill. The Democratic leadership in both houses, buoyed by environmentalists and labor, is not favorably inclined to the governor’s proposal to deem an affordable housing project approved if it meets various critics.

The Governor has until September 30 to sign or veto the legislation.