June 19, 2019: Amendments to SB-330 were proposed today in committee. When the text of the bill reflects these proposed changes this analysis will be updated.
June 15, 2019
SB-330 is a complex bill that has implications for every city in California. However, certain cities meeting a threshold test defined in the bill are classified as ‘affected cities’. For these 270+ cities, a more stringent set of requirements is imposed. The most important outcomes for “affected cities” would be the loss of an electorate’s right to repeal any aspect of the bill, the loss of protection for renters, expanded loopholes to avoid the actual building of affordable housing units, and an increased necessity or incentive for city staff to rubber stamp development projects to avoid litigation. Download the Full PDF Report here.
The Bill, retroactive to January 1, 2018:
For all cities, not just “affected” cities:
- Implements a new default in the development approval process such that if a city does not deem a development suitable it must provide written documentation in 30 days (for projects under 150 housing units in size) and for all other projects in 60 days, else the project is automatically deemed approved1. The expedited process and the attendant responsibilities for city planners expose cities to the possibility of litigation.
- Creates a seven-year reprieve for landlords for violations of the California Building Standards Code, unless correction of the violation is deemed necessary to protect health and safety2. Although, later in the bill it claims that “any exception to the requirements, including an exception for the health and safety of occupants of a housing development project, shall be construed narrowly”3.
- Relaxes residential zoning to include mixed-use. The definition of a ‘housing development’ under SB-330 states that a minimum of two-thirds of the square footage must be residential. The remaining one-third may be retail, office, light manufacturing, or any other non-residential use.4
- Strips cities of control over local zoning. If a housing development project is consistent with the general plan, even if the site for the development is inconsistent with the city’s general plan, the project must be approved without rezoning5. For example, it would allow for mixed-use in single-family zoning.
- Prohibits cities from creating new parks/open space. This, despite the fact that increased density and the associated population growth will drive a need for more park amenities6.
In addition, for affected cities, SB-330:
- Prohibits the electorates from challenging any aspect of the bill (should it become law) by exercising their power via local initiative or referendum7.
- Institutes city-wide parking maximums of 0.5 parking spots per housing unit8 (and for a sub-group of cities, show in blue below, an additional requirement of zero parking within ¼ mile of a “rail stop that is a major transit stop” (where a major transit stop is defined as a rail stop, a ferry terminal or the intersection of two or more bus routes with a 15 minute or less frequency of service during morning and afternoon commutes)9.
- Allows in-lieu fees to be charged in place of building the actual affordable housing units10. In addition, a developer’s relocation assistance to tenants must be considered as counting towards the affordable requirement of the development.11
- Disallows the enactment of a moratorium on ‘housing development’ and mixed-use development. Since ‘housing development’ is defined such that it may include office space, this also effectively disallows a moratorium on office space12. Thus, it prevents a city from capping office space, even if that city currently has a job-housing imbalance it wishes to correct.
- Requires that the demolition of a residential property only be allowed if the proposed housing development increases density13. Density is presumed to be a measure of housing units per parcel (although no definition appears in SB-330 or elsewhere in Government Code). This would mean that a single family home could not be demolished unless it was replaced by, at least, a duplex. It could not be demolished and replaced with another single-family residence.
The Qualifying Test for “Affected Cities”
SB-330 states that an ‘affected’ city is one for which the average of both of the following amounts is greater than zero:
- The percentage by which the city’s average* rate of rent differed from 130 percent of the national median rent (NMR) 14.
- The percentage by which the vacancy rate for residential rental units differed from the national vacancy rate (NVR) 14 (6.1%).
(Note: SB-330 excludes cities with populations of 5,000 or less if that city is not located within an urban core15).
The Qualifying Test for “Affected Counties”
As written SB-330 has two competing definitions for ‘affected county’ that are at odds with each other
- In the first, ‘affected county’ is described as the unincorporated portion of a county that meets the test above for ‘affected city’. By this definition there are more than 600 unincorporated areas across 58 counties16.
- In the second, ‘affected county’ is a county in which at least 50 percent of the cities in the county are ‘affected’17.
By this second definition, the following counties are ‘affected’: Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Placer, San Benito, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Ventura.
The List of “Affected Cities”
Using the language in SB-330 Bill and data supplied in the American Community Survey 5-year estimates (2013- 2017), “Affected Cities” are listed below. Cities in blue have additional restricted parking requirements including zero parking spots for developments within ¼ mile of a rail stop.
|Contra Costa County||Clayton|
|Los Angeles County||Bradbury|
|La Habra Heights|
|Rolling Hills Estates|
|Palos Verdes Estates|
|Santa Fe Springs|
|La Cañada Flintridge|
|Rancho Palos Verdes|
|Monterey County||Pacific Grove
|Orange County||Villa Park|
|San Juan Capistrano|
|Rancho Santa Margarita|
|Riverside County||Canyon Lake|
|San Benito County||Hollister|
|San Bernardino County||Grand Terrace|
|San Diego County||Del Mar|
|San Francisco||San Francisco|
|San Joaquin County||Escalon|
|San Luis Obispo County||Pismo Beach|
|San Luis Obispo|
|San Mateo County||Colma|
|Half Moon Bay|
|East Palo Alto|
|South San Francisco|
|Santa Barbara County||Buellton|
|Santa Clara County||Monte Sereno|
|Los Altos Hills|
|Santa Cruz County||Capitola|
|Solano County||Rio Vista|
|San Buenaventura (Ventura)|
* SB-330 refers to the average rent but ACS 5 year only references median rents.
- Government Code 65589.5 (j) (2) (A) (i) & (ii)
- Heal. & Safe. Code 17980.12 (b) (1), (2) & (3)
- Government Code 65913.3 (g) (2)
- Government Code 65589.5 (h) (2) (B)
- Government Code 65913.1 (c)
- Government Code 66300 (b) (1) (A)
- Government Code 65913.3 (a) (3)
- Government Code 65913.3 (b) (1) (B)
- Government Code 65913.3 (b) (1) (A)
- Government Code 65913.3 (b) (2)
- Government Code 65913.3 (e) (3))
- Government Code 66300 (b) (1) (B) (i)
- Government Code 65913.3 (e) (1) (B)
- Government Code 65913.3 (a) (1) (A)
- Government Code 65913.3 (a) (1) (B)
- Government Code 65913.3 (a) (2)
- Government Code 66300 (a) (2)