Removing Housing Obstacles: Skinner’s SB 166 & SB 167 Strengthen Accountability

September 14, 2017

 

SACRAMENTO – Tonight, the California Legislature passed a package of bills aimed at easing the state’s housing crisis. Among these are Senate Bill 166 and Senate Bill SB 167 authored by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley). Senate Bill 166 strengthens California’s No Net Loss zoning law and Senate Bill 167 strengthens the Housing Accountability Act (HAA).   

“Once a community has completed its planning and zoning process, housing proposals that play by the rules deserve to get a green light,” stated Senator Skinner. “And with the current supply crisis, local governments need to make sure that housing gets built on the sites identified for housing.”

Senate Bill 166 strengthens the No Net Loss zoning law by requiring local governments to immediately identify a replacement site if a project that differs from the housing category originally designated is approved. Additionally AB 166 requires that the replacement site must meet the specific housing affordability level that was lost.

To help ensure that housing proposals that meet zoning and land use requirements aren’t thwarted Senate Bill 167 adds teeth to the state’s Housing Accountability Act (HAA). Specifically, SB 167 increases the burden of proof that a local agency has to meet to deny a project, awards damages to plaintiffs if a local government is found to be acting in “bad faith,” and allows courts to leverage fines on cities that are not in compliance with the Housing Accountability Act.

“The goals of SB 167 and SB 166 are to remove barriers to housing construction and increase housing development across all affordability levels,” said Senator Skinner. “Strengthening existing law is central to meeting those goals and to combat our housing crisis.”

SB 166 and SB 167 now move to the desk of Governor Brown for approval.