BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 744


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          Date of Hearing:  April 15, 2015


               ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT


                                   Ed Chau, Chair


          AB 744  
          (Chau) - As Amended March 26, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Planning and zoning:  density bonuses


          SUMMARY: Requires a city, county, or city and county, upon the  
          request of a developer that receives a density bonus, to  
          eliminate the minimum parking requirements for the development,  
          if it meets specified criteria.   Specifically, this bill:  


          1)Requires a city, county, or city and county, upon the request  
            of a developer that receives a density bonus, to eliminate the  
            minimum parking requirements for the development, if it meets  
            one of the following criteria:


             a)   The development is located within one-half mile of a  
               "major transit stop";


             b)   The development is a senior citizen housing development;  
               or


             c)   The development is a special needs housing development.










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          1)Allows a city, county, or city and county to impose maximum  
            onsite parking requirements for a development.  


          2)Defines a "major transit stop" to mean a site containing an  
            existing rail transit station, a ferry terminal served by  
            either a bus or rail transit service, or the intersection of  
            two or more major bus routes with a frequency of service  
            interval of 15 minutes or less during the morning and  
            afternoon peak commute periods, includes a major transit stop  
            that is included in the applicable regional transportation  
            plan. 


          3)Specifies that a project is considered to be within one-half  
            mile of a major transit stop or high-quality transit corridor  
            if all parcels within the project have no more than 25 percent  
            of their area farther than one-half mile from the stop or  
            corridor and if not more than 10 percent of the residential  
            units or 100 units, whichever is less, in the project are  
            farther than one-half mile from the stop or corridor.

          4)Clarifies that, when calculating density bonus amounts, all  
            calculations that result in fractional numbers must be rounded  
            up including but not limited to maximum allowable density,  
            total affordable units, and the total amount of the density  
            bonus. 

          EXISTING LAW:  


          1)Defines "major transit stop" as a site containing an existing  
            rail transit station, a ferry terminal served by either a bus  
            or rail transit service, or the intersection of two or more  
            major bus routes with a frequency of service interval of 15  
            minutes or less during the morning and afternoon peak commute  
            periods (Public Resources Code Section 21064.3).  

           2)Requires all cities and counties to adopt an ordinance that  








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            specifies how they will implement state density bonus law  
            (Government Code Section 65915).
          3)Requires cities and counties to grant a density bonus when an  
            applicant for a housing development of five or more units  
            seeks and agrees to construct a project that will contain at  
            least any one of the following:

             a)   Ten percent of the total units for lower income  
               households;



             b)   Five percent of the total units of a housing for very  
               low income households;



             c)   A senior citizen housing development or mobilehome park;  
               and,



             d)   Ten percent of the units in a common-interest  
               development (CID) for moderate-income households.            
                                                                            
                    (Government Code Section 65915)



          1)Requires cities and counties to provide an applicant for a  
            density bonus concessions and incentives based on the number  
            of below market-rate units included in the project as follows:

             a)   One incentive or concession if the project includes at  
               least 10% of the total units for low-income households, 5%  
               for very low-income households, or 10% for moderate-income  
               households in a CID;

             b)   Two incentives or concessions if the project includes at  








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               least 20% of the total units for low-income households, 10%  
               for very low-income households, or 20%  for moderate-income  
               households in a CID; and

             c)   Three incentives or concessions if the project includes  
               at least 30% of the total units for low-income households,  
               15% for very low-income households, or 30% for  
               moderate-income households in a CID. 
                                  (Government Code Section 65915)

          2)Provides that, upon the developer's request, the local  
            government may not require parking standards greater than the  
            following (the developer may, however request additional  
            parking incentives or concessions):

             a)   Zero to one bedrooms: one onsite parking space;
             b)   Two to three bedrooms: two onsite parking spaces; and


             c)   Four or more bedrooms: two and one-half parking spaces.


                                   (Government Code Section 65915)



          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown. 


          COMMENTS:  


           Background  :  

          According to the Urban Land Institute's  Transportation for a  
          New Era: Growing more Sustainable Communities (2009) study "the  
          more that housing, jobs, and services spread out, the harder it  
          becomes to access them without an automobile.  Only with more  
          compact development and more transportation options - rapid  








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          transit and walkable designs - is it feasible to achieve  
          national goals for economic productivity and environmental  
          sustainability.  What's more, Americans increasingly demand more  
          compact product types.  Consumer preference surveys and studies  
          of housing values show that there is an unmet demand for  
          walkable neighborhoods.  Transit use is up and voters have  
          repeatedly approved referendums raising taxes or approving bond  
          issues for expanded rapid transit service.  But the supply of  
          affordable compact, mixed-use, transit-oriented development  
          products has not kept pace.  Studies show that compact  
          development results in fewer miles traveled, reducing fuel  
          consumption and emissions. In areas where housing, employment,  
          shopping, or services are close by - even in low-density places  
          without high-quality transit service - people walk more.   
          Compact development can reduce the cost of public infrastructure  
          and encourage healthy habits such as incorporating walking and  
          biking into daily routines.  With transportation options,  
          families save.  Each automobile a household maintains costs it,  
          annually, between $5,500 for a small sedan driven 10,000 miles a  
          year to nearly $12,000 for an SUV driven 20,000 miles a year.   
          The compact development model can be adapted to urban, suburban,  
          and rural contexts.  New communities can develop in more compact  
          ways, and many existing suburban areas are ready to be revamped  
          into a more concentrated, walkable, and mixed-use "village"  
          form.  However, in many communities, development around transit  
          and other likely locations is stymied by zoning restrictions and  
          parking requirements."

           Sustainable development goals:  

          California has taken steps over the last several years to  
          establish programs and policies to help incentivize regional and  
          local planning efforts.  AB 32: The California Global Solutions  
          Act of 2006 requires California to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG)  
          emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.  SB 375 (Steinberg) (2008)  
          supports the state's climate action goals to reduce GHG  
          emissions through coordinated transportation and land use  
          planning with the goal of more sustainable communities.  A key  
          component of reducing GHG emissions is moving people out of  








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          their cars and onto public transit.  Cities and counties are  
          required to adopt sustainable community strategies (SCS) to show  
          how development will support reduction in GHG emissions. 

          In some cases, cities and counties apply minimum parking  
          standards to housing developments that may not reflect the  
          demand from tenants for parking. These projects may be close to  
          transit stations or home to seniors or individuals with special  
          needs who drive less frequently and have fewer vehicles.   
          Parking spaces, which sometimes go unused, can significantly  
          increase the cost of construction. Certain types of parking,  
          podium or subterranean, can increase parking costs by 6% or more  
          relative to other types of parking. In cases where projects are  
          100% affordable or include affordable units, parking spaces  
          needlessly drive up the cost of the project.

          To help address California's affordable housing shortage, the  
          Legislature enacted density bonus law to encourage the  
          development of more affordable units.  Under current law, a city  
          or county must grant a density bonus, concessions and  
          incentives, prescribed parking requirements, as well as waivers  
          of development standards upon a developer's request when the  
          developer includes a certain percentage of affordable housing in  
          a housing development project.  
           


          Purpose of this bill  :  


          According to the author, AB 744 aligns local land use decisions  
          more closely with the goals of AB 32 and SB 375 by reducing the  
          parking required for housing developments that include  
          affordable units and are close to transit or are home to seniors  
          or special needs individuals.   Much of California's existing  
          parking requirements are based on low-density and single-purpose  
          land use designations. Parking is costly to build and maintain  
          and can increase the cost of projects in existing development  
          areas.








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           Support if amended  :  

          The American Planning Association: California Chapter has a  
          support on AB 744. According to APA, "generally, the narrower  
          focus from the previous parking minimum legislation is  
          appreciated and APA shares the author's goal to encourage infill  
          housing by not overburdening development near active transit or  
          other parking options.  However, APA does have questions and  
          concerns about the precise qualifying terms and the supportive  
          service component included in the bill." APA's concerns include  
          the following issues 1) whether the bill should include a  
          parking study completed by the developer to support the need for  
          reduced parking, 2) whether the definition of a transit stop is  
          too broad, 3) whether the definition of special needs housing is  
          too broad, and 4) whether it is clear that to qualify for the  
          reduced parking the project must include affordable units.     
           
          Staff comments  : 

          The author has indicated the intent of the bill is that only  
          developers that include affordable units should be able to  
          request that a local government eliminate the minimum parking  
          requirement. The committee may wish to consider asking the  
          author to clarify this provision.  

          Double referred  :  This bill was also referred to the Local  
          Government Committee where it will be heard should it pass out  
          of this committee.

          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support










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          American Planning Association (Support if Amended)


          California Housing Consortium 


          Circulate San Diego 


          Domus Development


          Local Government Commission




          Opposition




          None on file. 


          Analysis Prepared by:Lisa Engel / H. & C.D. / (916) 319-2085