New Bill to Change the Shape of California Housing

January 5, 2018
When it comes to adding apartments to a local housing market, Honolulu is the hardest metro for new rental units, according to survey commissioned by the National Apartment Association (NAA) and National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)
A new bill introduced in the California state legislature would provide residential housing developers with the incentive to construct taller and denser developments near major transit hubs.
According to a Curbed San Francisco report, SB 827 would exempt new housing developments from certain restrictions if they meet new qualifications as being “transit-rich housing,” which the bill defined as parcels located “within a one-mile radius of a major transit stop or a one-mile radius of a high-quality transit corridor.” The bill defines transit hubs as including 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.
Properties that are based near these transit hubs would be exempt from California’s maximum controls on residential density or floor area ratio, minimum automobile parking requirements, maximum height limitations and the design standards that restrict the applicant’s ability to construct the maximum number of units consistent with any applicable building code.
“After nearly 50 years of bad housing policy—policy designed to make it incredibly hard and expensive to create housing—we began the long process of righting the ship,” said State Sen. Scott Wiener, a co-author of the bill.