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Legislation Aimed to Alleviate California’s Affordability Woes Introduced

California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez introduced AB 2345—a Bill to Enhance California’s Statewide Density Bonus Law—earlier this week. 

The legislation—modeled under a policy expansion in San Diego—would increase the allowable density and number of incentives under the current California Density Bonus Law. If enacted, the bill could lead to more affordable housing in California, according to Up For Growth Action, a nonprofit that supports affordable housing initiatives. 

“Up for Growth Action and its supporters across California applaud Assemblywoman Gonzalez for her leadership in introducing AB 2345,” said Mike Kingsella, Executive Director of Up for Growth Action. “Her legislation would make smart and sensible changes to the state’s Density Bonus Law, and if passed would increase housing for people of all income levels across California. We’re honored to stand with her and our California supporters in supporting this innovative proposal.”

San Diego expanded the state’s Density Bonus Law in 2016 and increased the maximum bonus to 50% if developers provide 15%  very low income, 24% low-income units, or 44% moderate-income units. 

Since this expansion, the city has seen a 900% increase in project applications per month. The Density Bonus also provides projects with development incentives, which serve as concessions for local land development policies. 

Incentives could include things like reduced setback requirements, changes to building envelopes, or other regulatory changes that lower the costs of development. AB 2345 increases the maximum number of incentives used from three to five. 

California’s latest attempt to alleviate affordability concerns fizzled out a few weeks ago, as Senate Bill 50 came up three votes short of approval. 

This is the third consecutive year this legislation stalled on the Senate floor. 

The bill would have allowed homeowners to convert a garage, office, or spare room into living quarters. The new legislation also had a provision for allowing three homes on land previously zoned for single-family. 

The bill hit a roadblock late last year, when Sen. Anthony Portantini, the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee came out against SB 50 earlier this year. He said the measure would have trumped zoning rules that are “exclusively under the control” of cities and counties. 

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.
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