The Housing Accountability and Affordability Act (SB 35) was signed by Gov. Brown on Sept. 29, 2017. This bill streamlines the approval process for affordable housing in many jurisdictions. Cities must now report annually how they have met their RHNA goals. If the goals are not met, or an annual report has not been filed, approval of qualified housing projects will be streamlined, so long as the developments are consistent with existing zoning, density, design standards and other locally adopted objective and ministerial policies and required public benefits, until these cities meet their RHNA goals.
Housing developments proposing 10% lower income units or higher percentages if there is a local BMR/inclusionary ordinance requiring a higher percentage will be fast-tracked where the local jurisdiction has not met its RHNA goals for the above moderate category.
This is generally aimed at cities that are totally no-growth; as most cities in our area meet their goals for above moderate, this will have little impact. Where the RHNA goals have not been met for those categories under 80% AMI, if a development proposes to include at least 50% of the units as Lower Income units, the project will be fast-tracked. The streamlining means for example, that they if the development contains 150 or fewer units, it must be approved within 90 days of submittal. Typically, these will be all-affordable developments, and, of course, they usually need local funding. The Vallco proposal will include 50% affordable units and is proceeding based upon SB 35. 40 Main Street in Los Altos is also an SB 35 project. The City of Los Altos has appealed the court’s ruling that the project can proceed based upon SB 35.