California governor Gavin Newsom signed two bills into law (SB 6 and AB 2011) that will allow developers to build multifamily projects on land zoned for commercial real estate uses, such as shuttered shopping malls.
“This is a moment on a journey to reconcile the original sin, the original sin of the state of California, and that is the issue of housing affordability,” Newsom said.
With more than 100,000 people sleeping on the streets, California has become one of the most emblematic examples of the housing crisis affecting many cities in the United States.
According to Senate President pro-Tempore Toni Atkins,“SB 6 and AB 2011 are game changers when it comes to producing desperately needed housing for all income levels,”
Here’s what you need to know about both laws.
SB 6 (Middle-Class Housing Act)
- Includes worker protections to ensure that homes built under SB6 pay workers fair wages and prioritizes the use of a skilled and trained workforce.
- projects will NOT be exempt from local planning and environmental review processes before getting approved.
- Read the full text of SB 6 here
AB 2011 (Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act)
- Projects that are 100% affordable will go through a sped-up approval process and will be exempted from the lengthy environmental review process required by the state.
- Read the full text of AB 2011 here
According to an analysis by National Public Radio (NPR), two laws were necessary to address the complex housing situation in California.
The analysis sees the laws signed by governor Newsom as “a compromise between labor unions and housing developers.”
Labor unions insisted that the laws should call for a “skill and trained workforce” to build the new houses. This refers to workers who have participated in state-approved apprenticeship programs.
Developers, on the other hand, maintained that the workers that fall under this definition of “skilled and trained” aren’t enough to tackle the growing housing demand.
As a result, AB 2011 does not require a skilled and trained workforce, while SB 6 does, an arrangement that strikes a balance between the demands of unions and the needs of developers.
The effect of these laws won’t be immediately evident as both pieces of legislation will go into effect until summer next year.
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