California Democrats agreed Tuesday on a bill package that would mandate developers set aside a portion of their rental properties for low-income households — while also giving them the opportunity to bypass local government review if they play by certain rules.
The package requires two-thirds approval from the state legislature to make it to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, the Sacramento Bee reported. It will go up for a vote as early as Friday.
Sen. Toni Atkins of San Diego proposed Senate Bill 2, which would impose a $75 to $225 document fee on all real estate transactions — much to the chagrin of the California Mortgage Association and California Escrow Association, who both oppose the bill, saying it will discourage proper record keeping and put a burden on financially troubled homeowners looking to refinance.
Analysis shows the fee would generate $229 to $258 million per year — 70 percent of which would go to cities and counties and the remaining 30 percent of which would be distributed by the state. The bulk of the funding would be used to combat homelessness and provide housing for farmworkers and low-income workers.
Another bill in the package, Senate Bill 3, would put a $4 billion housing bond on the November 2018 ballot for voter approval. Three quarters of the money would fund affordable housing projects, while the remaining 25 percent would subsidize veterans’ home purchases. Proposed by Sen. Jim Beall of San Jose, the bill would also increase funding for parks and cleanup.
A third bill in the package might be beneficial to developers, who are constantly at battle with the legislative hurdles that come with building a property. Sen. Scott Weiner’s Senate Bill 35 seeks to speed up the approval process for new multifamily housing that meets certain zoning and requirements, including paying construction workers a prevailing wage. The bill would make it easier for developers to bypass local government review in cities and counties that don’t produce enough homes.
With 1.5 million low-income Californians unable to find housing, the funding bills would be a step in the right direction, Senate Democrats say, while admitting it would not entirely solve the housing “catastrophe.”
Other bills in the package include Assembly Bill 1505 from Assembly member Richard Bloom, which would allow cities and counties to mandate that developers set aside a portion of multi-family housing for low-income households.
The real estate industry has come out against the measure, saying that such restrictions make projects more expensive for developers.
The legislative package has the potential to generate 70,000 new housing units across the state if approved. [Sacramento Bee] – Natalie Hoberman