San Francisco — Gov. Newsom today signed legislation that the Bay Area Council sponsored to address the state’s historic housing crisis and speed delivery of sustainable transportation projects.
SB 288 (Wiener) exempts a wide range of transit, bicycle and pedestrian improvement projects from review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Exempted infrastructure projects under SB 288 include: safer streets and facilities for walking and biking; faster, more efficient bus service with new bus rapid transit lines; and the installation of new zero emission bus charging infrastructure. The Council was proud to partner with SPUR and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group in sponsoring SB 288.
AB 831 (Grayson) makes changes to the process for development projects approved by the streamlined, ministerial process created by SB 35. The law provides a path to modify approved development projects prior to the issuance of the final building permit required for construction and specifies that local governments must approve and construct public improvements provided in conjunction with the project in a manner that would not inhibit, chill, or preclude the development. The Council was proud to partner with SPUR in sponsoring AB 831.
“Sometimes making progress on our biggest challenges simply requires getting out of our own way,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “The reforms in SB 288 and AB 831 remove burdensome and unnecessary regulatory and other obstacles that have long been used to delay or halt sensible housing and transportation projects that can benefit millions of Californians. We applaud Gov. Newsom for signing these bills and extend our deepest thanks to Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Tim Grayson for their partnership in developing these important reforms.”
Not all the news out of Sacramento was good. The Governor vetoed legislation, AB 69 (Ting), the Council sponsored that would have created a new state program to help homeowners finance the construction of accessory dwellings units (ADUs), also known as in-law or granny units. The Council has been at the forefront of a statewide surge in ADU construction since sponsoring landmark reform legislation in 2016 that made it easier, faster and less costly to build ADUs.
“ADUs represent a bright spot in California’s tepid response to a housing crisis that is hurting millions of Californians,” Wunderman said. “The number of ADUs that we could have financed under AB 69 would exceed the number that all the other housing bills this year combined will produce. We’re grateful to Assemblymember Ting for his leadership in bringing AB 69 forward and we will continue to work on ADU financing reforms that can fuel this exciting housing solution.”
About the Bay Area Council
The Bay Area Council is a business-sponsored, public-policy advocacy organization for the nine-county Bay Area. The Council proactively advocates for a strong economy, a vital business environment, and a better quality of life for everyone who lives here. Founded in 1945, the Bay Area Council is widely respected by elected officials, policy makers and other civic leaders as the voice of Bay Area business. Today, more than 300 of the largest employers in the region support the Bay Area Council and offer their CEO or top executive as a member. Our members employ more than 4.43 million workers and have revenues of $1.94 trillion, worldwide.