On October 9, 2015, Governor Brown signed into law a number of “hot” bills covering a range of topics. One bill was relevant to planning and zoning practice:
AB 744 (Chau) is a density bonus law that pertains to what kind of parking restrictions and space demands agencies can impose on projects meeting certain criteria (proximity to transit, affordability). This will be important for future affordable housing projects.
The bill notes that currently, “Planning and Zoning Law requires, when a developer of housing proposes a housing development within the jurisdiction of the local government, that the city, county, or city and county provide the developer with a density bonus and other incentives or concessions for the production of lower income housing units or the donation of land within the development if the developer, among other things, agrees to construct a specified percentage of units for very low, low-, or moderate-income households or qualifying residents. Existing law requires continued affordability for 55 years or longer, as specified, of all very low and low-income units that qualified an applicant for a density bonus. Existing law prohibits a city, county, or city and county from requiring a vehicular parking ratio for a housing development that meets these criteria in excess of specified ratios. This prohibition applies only at the request of the developer and specifies that the developer may request additional parking incentives or concessions.”
AB 744 will “additionally prohibit, at the request of the developer, a city, county, or city and county from imposing a vehicular parking ratio, inclusive of handicapped and guest parking, in excess of 0.5 spaces per bedroom on a development that includes the maximum percentage of low- or very low income units, as specified, and is located within1/2 mile of a major transit stop, as defined, and there is unobstructed access to the transit stop from the development.”
The bill also prohibits a local government “from imposing a vehicular parking ratio, inclusive of handicapped and guest parking, in excess of specified amounts per unit on a development that consists solely of units with an affordable housing cost to lower income households, as specified, if the development is within 1/2 mile of a major transit stop and there is unobstructed access to the transit stop from the development, is a for-rent housing development for individuals that are 62 years of age or older that complies with specified existing laws regarding senior housing, or is a special needs housing development, as those terms are defined. The bill would require a subject development that is a for-rent housing development for individuals that are 62 years of age or older or a special needs housing development to have either paratransit service or unobstructed access, within 1/2 mile, to fixed bus route service that operates at least 8 times per day. The bill would authorize a city, county, or city and county to impose a higher vehicular parking ratio based on substantial evidence found in an areawide or jurisdictionwide parking study, as specified.”
The text of the bill is available at: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB744