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Legislature Enacts “Housing Creator” Amendment to Housing Accountability Act

California’s Housing Accountability Act, first enacted in 1982 and then strengthened in 2017 by Senate Bill 167, has gained further muscle through a new amendment — Assembly Bill 3194, enacted August 28, 2018.

The Housing Accountability Act (also known as the “anti-NIMBY” Act) limited local agencies’ ability to disapprove, or unfairly condition approval of, housing development projects for lower and moderate income housing.  To reject such development proposals, a local agency must conclude that the project would have a specific, adverse impact on public health or safety.

AB 3194 strengthens the Housing Accountability Act by declaring “the Legislature’s intent that the conditions that would have a specific, adverse impact upon the public health and safety arise infrequently.” 

The bill also provides that a proposed project is not inconsistent with applicable zoning standards, and shall not require a rezoning, if the project is consistent with objective general plan standards but the local agency’s adopted zoning for the project site is inconsistent with the general plan.  Where the zoning is consistent with the general plan, a local agency may require a proposed project to comply with the objective standards of that zoning, but those standards must be applied to facilitate development at the density allowed on the site by the general plan.

Here are a few links to bring you up to speed on AB 3194:

  • Text of AB 3194
  • The California Building Industry Association’s (CBIA) letter of support for AB 3194 dated March 15, 2018.  In the letter, CBIA stated that it has “taken a support position on the bill and identified it as a ‘Housing Creator.'”
  • Assembly Committee analysis of AB 3194 as of May 9, 2018.
  • “Removal of Opposition” letter dated June 13, 2018 from the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), the Urban Counties of California (UCC), the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), the League of California Cities (LCC), and the American Planning Association California Chapter (APACA).  The letter noted that AB 3194 would still “allow local agencies to apply objective zoning standards and criteria” to development projects.
  • Assembly Floor Analysis of AB 3194, as presented shortly before its enactment.

AB 3194 had widespread support, and will hopefully help California’s escalating housing supply/demand imbalance.