Senator Wiener’s Housing Bills Pass Critical Committee

Senator Wiener SB 423 Press Conference in February

Special to the Vanguard

Sacramento, CA – The Senate Governance and Finance Committee passed Senator Scott Wiener’s (D-San Francisco) flagship housing bills SB 4 and SB 423. SB 4 allows faith institutions and nonprofit colleges to build affordable housing on their land by right, and SB 423 streamlines construction in areas that have not met their housing goals. Both bills passed 5-2 and head next to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Together, the bills open tens of thousands of acres of land for affordable housing, streamline the construction process in areas that are behind on their housing goals, and extend labor protections to a huge number of workers who currently lack them. The state has set a goal of building 2.5 million units of housing in the next 8 years, and these bills provide essential tools for cities to meet that goal.

“We need powerful tools to dig out of California’s massive housing shortage,” said Senator Wiener. “These bills give cities a fighting chance at meeting their housing goals, by opening faith lands to affordable housing development and streamlining construction in areas that are behind on their goals.”

The Affordable Housing on Faith Lands Act (SB 4)

SB 4 ensures that churches, faith institutions, and nonprofit colleges will be able to build affordable housing on their land without having to go through an expensive and difficult rezoning and discretionary approval process.

Any organization building this type of streamlined affordable housing must maintain the affordability of these homes for a minimum of 55 years for rental properties and 45 years for properties that can be owned. Additionally, density and height restrictions must align with what is deemed appropriate for affordable housing by housing element law.

SB 4 is sponsored by the California Conference of Carpenters, Inner City Law Center, Jewish Public Affairs Committee, Non-profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH), Southern California Association of Non-profit Housing (SCANPH).

SB 423

SB 423 extends and builds on the success of SB 35, Senator Wiener’s 2017 housing streamlining law that is due to sunset at the end of 2025. SB 35 has been the leading driver of new affordable housing development in California since its passage, and allowing it to sunset would jeopardize cities’ ability to meet their state housing goals.

SB 423 is sponsored by the California Housing Consortium, California Conference of Carpenters, the Inner City Law Center, the Local Initiative Support Corporation, and California YIMBY.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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4 Comments

  1. Don Shor

    SB4:

    This bill would require that a housing development project be a use by right upon the request of an applicant who submits an application for streamlined approval, on any land owned by an independent institution of higher education or religious institution on or before January 1, 2024,

    This is one way Davis could achieve RHNA numbers in the current housing element cycle, if any of the churches in Davis are interested in developing affordable housing in their parking lots and open spaces. The Baptist Church on Pole Line Road has a vacant lot, for example.

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