California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 2584


Introduced by Assembly Member Daly

(Coauthors: Assembly Members Low and Santiago)

February 19, 2016


An act to amend Section 65589.5 of the Government Code, relating to housing.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 2584, as introduced, Daly. Land use: housing development.

The Housing Accountability Act, among other things, prohibits a local agency from disapproving a housing development project for very low, low-, or moderate-income households or an emergency shelter unless the local agency makes specified written findings. The act authorizes an applicant or person who would be eligible to apply for residency in the development or emergency shelter to bring an action to enforce the act.

This bill would authorize an entity that represents a housing provider or a person who would be eligible to apply for residency to bring an action to enforce the act.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P1    1

SECTION 1.  

Section 65589.5 of the Government Code is
2amended to read:

3

65589.5.  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the
4following:

P2    1(1) The lack of housing, including emergency shelters, is a
2critical problem that threatens the economic, environmental, and
3social quality of life in California.

4(2) California housing has become the most expensive in the
5nation. The excessive cost of the state’s housing supply is partially
6caused by activities and policies of many local governments that
7limit the approval of housing, increase the cost of land for housing,
8and require that high fees and exactions be paid by producers of
9housing.

10(3) Among the consequences of those actions are discrimination
11against low-income and minority households, lack of housing to
12support employment growth, imbalance in jobs and housing,
13reduced mobility, urban sprawl, excessive commuting, and air
14quality deterioration.

15(4) Many local governments do not give adequate attention to
16the economic, environmental, and social costs of decisions that
17result in disapproval of housing projects, reduction in density of
18housing projects, and excessive standards for housing projects.

19(b) It is the policy of the state that a local government not reject
20or make infeasible housing developments, including emergency
21shelters, that contribute to meeting the need determined pursuant
22to this article without a thorough analysis of the economic, social,
23and environmental effects of the action and without complying
24with subdivision (d).

25(c) The Legislature also recognizes that premature and
26unnecessary development of agricultural lands for urban uses
27continues to have adverse effects on the availability of those lands
28for food and fiber production and on the economy of the state.
29Furthermore, it is the policy of the state that development should
30be guided away from prime agricultural lands; therefore, in
31implementing this section, local jurisdictions should encourage,
32to the maximum extent practicable, in filling existing urban areas.

33(d) A local agency shall not disapprove a housing development
34project, including farmworker housing as defined in subdivision
35(h) of Section 50199.7 of the Health and Safety Code, for very
36low, low-, or moderate-income households, or an emergency
37shelter, or condition approval in a manner that renders the project
38infeasible for development for the use of very low, low-, or
39moderate-income households, or an emergency shelter, including
40through the use of design review standards, unless it makes written
P3    1findings, based upon substantial evidence in the record, as to one
2of the following:

3(1) The jurisdiction has adopted a housing element pursuant to
4this article that has been revised in accordance with Section 65588,
5is in substantial compliance with this article, and the jurisdiction
6has met or exceeded its share of the regional housing need
7allocation pursuant to Section 65584 for the planning period for
8the income category proposed for the housing development project,
9provided that any disapproval or conditional approval shall not be
10based on any of the reasons prohibited by Section 65008. If the
11housing development project includes a mix of income categories,
12and the jurisdiction has not met or exceeded its share of the regional
13housing need for one or more of those categories, then this
14paragraph shall not be used to disapprove or conditionally approve
15the project. The share of the regional housing need met by the
16jurisdiction shall be calculated consistently with the forms and
17definitions that may be adopted by the Department of Housing and
18Community Development pursuant to Section 65400. In the case
19of an emergency shelter, the jurisdiction shall have met or exceeded
20the need for emergency shelter, as identified pursuant to paragraph
21(7) of subdivision (a) of Section 65583. Any disapproval or
22conditional approval pursuant to this paragraph shall be in
23accordance with applicable law, rule, or standards.

24(2) The development project or emergency shelter as proposed
25would have a specific, adverse impact upon the public health or
26safety, and there is no feasible method to satisfactorily mitigate or
27avoid the specific adverse impact without rendering the
28development unaffordable to low- and moderate-income
29households or rendering the development of the emergency shelter
30financially infeasible. As used in this paragraph, a “specific,
31adverse impact” means a significant, quantifiable, direct, and
32unavoidable impact, based on objective, identified written public
33health or safety standards, policies, or conditions as they existed
34on the date the application was deemed complete. Inconsistency
35with the zoning ordinance or general plan land use designation
36shall not constitute a specific, adverse impact upon the public
37health or safety.

38(3) The denial of the project or imposition of conditions is
39required in order to comply with specific state or federal law, and
40there is no feasible method to comply without rendering the
P4    1development unaffordable to low- and moderate-income
2households or rendering the development of the emergency shelter
3financially infeasible.

4(4) The development project or emergency shelter is proposed
5on land zoned for agriculture or resource preservation that is
6surrounded on at least two sides by land being used for agricultural
7or resource preservation purposes, or which does not have adequate
8water or wastewater facilities to serve the project.

9(5) The development project or emergency shelter is inconsistent
10with both the jurisdiction’s zoning ordinance and general plan land
11use designation as specified in any element of the general plan as
12it existed on the date the application was deemed complete, and
13the jurisdiction has adopted a revised housing element in
14accordance with Section 65588 that is in substantial compliance
15with this article.

16(A) This paragraph cannot be utilized to disapprove or
17conditionally approve a housing development project if the
18development project is proposed on a site that is identified as
19suitable or available for very low, low-, or moderate-income
20households in the jurisdiction’s housing element, and consistent
21with the density specified in the housing element, even though it
22is inconsistent with both the jurisdiction’s zoning ordinance and
23general plan land use designation.

24(B) If the local agency has failed to identify in the inventory of
25land in its housing element sites that can be developed for housing
26within the planning period and are sufficient to provide for the
27jurisdiction’s share of the regional housing need for all income
28levels pursuant to Section 65584, then this paragraph shall not be
29utilized to disapprove or conditionally approve a housing
30development project proposed for a site designated in any element
31of the general plan for residential uses or designated in any element
32of the general plan for commercial uses if residential uses are
33permitted or conditionally permitted within commercial
34designations. In any action in court, the burden of proof shall be
35on the local agency to show that its housing element does identify
36adequate sites with appropriate zoning and development standards
37and with services and facilities to accommodate the local agency’s
38share of the regional housing need for the very low and low-income
39categories.

P5    1(C) If the local agency has failed to identify a zone or zones
2where emergency shelters are allowed as a permitted use without
3a conditional use or other discretionary permit, has failed to
4demonstrate that the identified zone or zones include sufficient
5capacity to accommodate the need for emergency shelter identified
6in paragraph (7) of subdivision (a) of Section 65583, or has failed
7to demonstrate that the identified zone or zones can accommodate
8at least one emergency shelter, as required by paragraph (4) of
9subdivision (a) of Section 65583, then this paragraph shall not be
10utilized to disapprove or conditionally approve an emergency
11shelter proposed for a site designated in any element of the general
12plan for industrial, commercial, or multifamily residential uses. In
13any action in court, the burden of proof shall be on the local agency
14to show that its housing element does satisfy the requirements of
15paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 65583.

16(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to relieve the local
17agency from complying with the congestion management program
18required by Chapter 2.6 (commencing with Section 65088) of
19Division 1 of Title 7 or the California Coastal Act of 1976
20(Division 20 (commencing with Section 30000) of the Public
21Resources Code). Neither shall anything in this section be
22construed to relieve the local agency from making one or more of
23the findings required pursuant to Section 21081 of the Public
24Resources Code or otherwise complying with the California
25Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section
2621000) of the Public Resources Code).

27(f) (1) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a
28local agency from requiring the development project to comply
29with objective, quantifiable, written development standards,
30conditions, and policies appropriate to, and consistent with, meeting
31the jurisdiction’s share of the regional housing need pursuant to
32Section 65584. However, the development standards, conditions,
33and policies shall be applied to facilitate and accommodate
34development at the density permitted on the site and proposed by
35the development.

36(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a local
37agency from requiring an emergency shelter project to comply
38with objective, quantifiable, written development standards,
39conditions, and policies that are consistent with paragraph (4) of
40subdivision (a) of Section 65583 and appropriate to, and consistent
P6    1with, meeting the jurisdiction’s need for emergency shelter, as
2identified pursuant to paragraph (7) of subdivision (a) of Section
365583. However, the development standards, conditions, and
4policies shall be applied by the local agency to facilitate and
5accommodate the development of the emergency shelter project.

6(3) This section does not prohibit a local agency from imposing
7fees and other exactions otherwise authorized by law that are
8essential to provide necessary public services and facilities to the
9development project or emergency shelter.

10(g) This section shall be applicable to charter cities because the
11Legislature finds that the lack of housing, including emergency
12shelter, is a critical statewide problem.

13(h) The following definitions apply for the purposes of this
14section:

15(1) “Feasible” means capable of being accomplished in a
16successful manner within a reasonable period of time, taking into
17account economic, environmental, social, and technological factors.

18(2) “Housing development project” means a use consisting of
19any of the following:

20(A) Residential units only.

21(B) Mixed-use developments consisting of residential and
22nonresidential uses in which nonresidential uses are limited to
23neighborhood commercial uses and to the first floor of buildings
24that are two or more stories. As used in this paragraph,
25“neighborhood commercial” means small-scale general or specialty
26stores that furnish goods and services primarily to residents of the
27neighborhood.

28(C) Transitional housing or supportive housing.

29(3) “Housing for very low, low-, or moderate-income
30households” means that either (A) at least 20 percent of the total
31units shall be sold or rented to lower income households, as defined
32in Section 50079.5 of the Health and Safety Code, or (B) 100
33percent of the units shall be sold or rented to persons and families
34of moderate income as defined in Section 50093 of the Health and
35Safety Code, or persons and families of middle income, as defined
36in Section 65008 of this code. Housing units targeted for lower
37income households shall be made available at a monthly housing
38cost that does not exceed 30 percent of 60 percent of area median
39income with adjustments for household size made in accordance
40with the adjustment factors on which the lower income eligibility
P7    1limits are based. Housing units targeted for persons and families
2of moderate income shall be made available at a monthly housing
3cost that does not exceed 30 percent of 100 percent of area median
4income with adjustments for household size made in accordance
5with the adjustment factors on which the moderate-income
6 eligibility limits are based.

7(4) “Area median income” means area median income as
8periodically established by the Department of Housing and
9Community Development pursuant to Section 50093 of the Health
10and Safety Code. The developer shall provide sufficient legal
11commitments to ensure continued availability of units for very low
12or low-income households in accordance with the provisions of
13this subdivision for 30 years.

14(5) “Disapprove the development project” includes any instance
15in which a local agency does either of the following:

16(A) Votes on a proposed housing development project
17application and the application is disapproved.

18(B) Fails to comply with the time periods specified in
19subdivision (a) of Section 65950. An extension of time pursuant
20to Article 5 (commencing with Section 65950) shall be deemed to
21be an extension of time pursuant to this paragraph.

22(i) If any city, county, or city and county denies approval or
23imposes restrictions, including design changes, a reduction of
24allowable densities or the percentage of a lot that may be occupied
25by a building or structure under the applicable planning and zoning
26in force at the time the application is deemed complete pursuant
27to Section 65943, that have a substantial adverse effect on the
28viability or affordability of a housing development for very low,
29low-, or moderate-income households, and the denial of the
30development or the imposition of restrictions on the development
31is the subject of a court action which challenges the denial, then
32the burden of proof shall be on the local legislative body to show
33that its decision is consistent with the findings as described in
34subdivision (d) and that the findings are supported by substantial
35evidence in the record.

36(j) When a proposed housing development project complies
37with applicable, objective general plan and zoning standards and
38 criteria, including design review standards, in effect at the time
39that the housing development project’s application is determined
40to be complete, but the local agency proposes to disapprove the
P8    1project or to approve it upon the condition that the project be
2developed at a lower density, the local agency shall base its
3decision regarding the proposed housing development project upon
4written findings supported by substantial evidence on the record
5that both of the following conditions exist:

6(1) The housing development project would have a specific,
7adverse impact upon the public health or safety unless the project
8is disapproved or approved upon the condition that the project be
9developed at a lower density. As used in this paragraph, a “specific,
10adverse impact” means a significant, quantifiable, direct, and
11unavoidable impact, based on objective, identified written public
12health or safety standards, policies, or conditions as they existed
13on the date the application was deemed complete.

14(2) There is no feasible method to satisfactorily mitigate or
15avoid the adverse impact identified pursuant to paragraph (1), other
16than the disapproval of the housing development project or the
17approval of the project upon the condition that it be developed at
18a lower density.

19(k) Thebegin delete applicant or anyend deletebegin insert applicant, aend insert person who would be
20eligible to apply for residency in the development or emergency
21begin delete shelterend deletebegin insert shelter, or an entity that represents a housing provider or
22a person who would be eligible to apply for residencyend insert
may bring
23an action to enforce this section. If, in any action brought to enforce
24begin delete the provisions ofend delete this section, a court finds that the local agency
25disapproved a project or conditioned its approval in a manner
26rendering it infeasible for the development of an emergency shelter,
27or housing for very low, low-, or moderate-income households,
28including farmworker housing, without making the findings
29required by this section or without making sufficient findings
30supported by substantial evidence, the court shall issue an order
31or judgment compelling compliance with this section within 60
32days, including, but not limited to, an order that the local agency
33take action on the development project or emergency shelter. The
34court shall retain jurisdiction to ensure that its order or judgment
35is carried out and shall award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs
36of suit to the plaintiff or petitioner who proposed the housing
37development or emergency shelter, except under extraordinary
38 circumstances in which the court finds that awarding fees would
39not further the purposes of this section. If the court determines that
40its order or judgment has not been carried out within 60 days, the
P9    1court may issue further orders as provided by law to ensure that
2the purposes and policies of this section are fulfilled, including,
3but not limited to, an order to vacate the decision of the local
4agency, in which case the application for the project, as constituted
5at the time the local agency took the initial action determined to
6be in violation of this section, along with any standard conditions
7determined by the court to be generally imposed by the local
8agency on similar projects, shall be deemed approved unless the
9applicant consents to a different decision or action by the local
10agency.

11(l) If the court finds that the local agency (1) acted in bad faith
12when it disapproved or conditionally approved the housing
13development or emergency shelter in violation of this section and
14 (2) failed to carry out the court’s order or judgment within 60 days
15as described in subdivision (k), the court, in addition to any other
16remedies provided by this section, may impose fines upon the local
17agency that the local agency shall be required to deposit into a
18housing trust fund. Fines shall not be paid from funds that are
19already dedicated for affordable housing, including, but not limited
20to, redevelopment or low- and moderate-income housing funds
21and federal HOME and CDBG funds. The local agency shall
22commit the money in the trust fund within five years for the sole
23purpose of financing newly constructed housing units affordable
24to extremely low, very low, or low-income households. For
25purposes of this section, “bad faith” shall mean an action that is
26frivolous or otherwise entirely without merit.

27(m) Any action brought to enforce the provisions of this section
28shall be brought pursuant to Section 1094.5 of the Code of Civil
29Procedure, and the local agency shall prepare and certify the record
30of proceedings in accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 1094.6
31of the Code of Civil Procedure no later than 30 days after the
32petition is served, provided that the cost of preparation of the record
33shall be borne by the local agency. Upon entry of the trial court’s
34order, a party shall, in order to obtain appellate review of the order,
35file a petition within 20 days after service upon it of a written
36notice of the entry of the order, or within such further time not
37exceeding an additional 20 days as the trial court may for good
38cause allow. If the local agency appeals the judgment of the trial
39court, the local agency shall post a bond, in an amount to be
P10   1determined by the court, to the benefit of the plaintiff if the plaintiff
2is the project applicant.

3(n) In any action, the record of the proceedings before the local
4agency shall be filed as expeditiously as possible and,
5notwithstanding Section 1094.6 of the Code of Civil Procedure or
6 subdivision (m) of this section, all or part of the record may be
7prepared (1) by the petitioner with the petition or petitioner’s points
8and authorities, (2) by the respondent with respondent’s points and
9authorities, (3) after payment of costs by the petitioner, or (4) as
10otherwise directed by the court. If the expense of preparing the
11record has been borne by the petitioner and the petitioner is the
12prevailing party, the expense shall be taxable as costs.

13(o) This section shall be known, and may be cited, as the
14Housing Accountability Act.



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