FACT SHEET FOR AB 1335 (Zbur) STRENGTHENING SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES’ STRATEGIES
AUTHOR: ASSEMBLYMEMBER RICK CHAVEZ ZBUR, ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 51
SPONSOR: ABUNDANT HOUSING LOS ANGELES
To address the linked crises of housing affordability and climate change, AB 1335 requires local governments to report annually on housing proposed, approved, and constructed within priority areas identified by the applicable Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS). The bill would also require that housing targets for both short- and long-term planning in the SCS be directly aligned with the applicable Regional Housing Needs
Senate Bill 375 (2008) established a regional land use planning process, the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS), as part of the Regional Transportation Plans (RTPs) that Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) prepare. The intent of the law is to align land use planning and transportation investments with the state’s goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks. However, the SCS is
non-binding on local governments. Local general plans are not required to be consistent with the SCS1. Instead, local governments are incentivized to align their general plans and zoning with the SCS through CEQA streamlining options and priority for certain competitive grant applications, such as the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program. Local governments are required to update their housing elements to plan for the number of homes specified by the MPO in their Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). The RHNA is developed based on several factors including consistency with the SCS2.
Unfortunately, SB 375 has not been particularly effective at promoting denser, infill housing development that would allow people to be less reliant on driving in practice3. It is difficult to obtain information on what actions, if any, local governments are taking to align their land use regulations with the SCS.
The lack of alignment in housing targets between RHND and the RTP/SCS, means that transportation investments that would support infill housing development are not necessarily prioritized as highly as they should be. The lack of alignment between these processes also increases the risk that housing developments will not be able to use existing incentives in state law, such as CEQA streamlining and AHSC grants.
AB 1335 would address the linked housing affordability and climate crises by strengthening the incentives for local land use regulation to align with the SCS, in order to create more housing opportunities near jobs and transit, which will both alleviate the housing shortage and affordability crisis and allow people to be less reliant on cars for transportation, which reduces GHG emissions, makes it easier to build housing affordably and improves public safety. This includes two parts: 1) requiring local governments to report on housing production within priority areas identified in the SCS as part of their General Plan Annual Progress Reports and 2) avoiding divergence between RHND and SCS by clarifying that SCS short-term and long-term housing targets should be based directly on the RHND.
AB 1335 would require local governments to report a set of specific metrics on housing production within SCS priority areas as part of the General Plan Annual Progress Report (APR). This is a report that local governments already have to prepare and submit to the state. SCS alignment would continue to be voluntary. This enhanced reporting would create valuable data that members of the public could use to press their local
governments for smarter land use policy that addresses our linked housing affordability and climate challenges. The data would also assist the state in evaluating the Sustainable Communities Strategy process. If local governments are not allowing more housing in priority areas near jobs and transit voluntarily, this would be an indication that further reforms are needed.
The second part of this proposal is ensuring that RHND and SCS do not diverge in their housing targets. Without proper alignment between RHND and the SCS, opportunities to use CEQA streamlining and obtain grant funds through the AHSC program for affordable infill housing may be at risk. AB 1335 would require that 8-year SCS housing targets are no less than the most recent RHND, and that housing targets in the longer SCS planning period are calculated in a way that comprehensively addresses a region’s housing need.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. DOES AB 1335 JEOPARDIZE FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION DOLLARS???
AB 1335 has this language to double, triple, quadruple make sure that zero Federal Transportation dollars are at risk:
“However, this subclause shall not apply if the federal agencies responsible for determining conformity of the regional transportation plan pursuant to Part 450 of, Title 23 of, and Part 93 of Title 40 of, the Code of Federal Regulations determine during the conformity consultation process that compliance with this subclause would cause the regional transportation plan to be out of conformity with the requirements under Part 450 of Title 23 of, and Part 93 of Title 40 of, the Code of Federal Regulations.”
2. DOES AB 1335 UPEND THE WORK THE REGIONAL GOVERNMENTS ARE DOING???
AB 1335 does require that the Sustainable Communities Strategies bases its planning on the Regional Housing Needs Determination. In short, planning for housing (which is required) should come chronologically first and planning for sustainable transportation (which is not required, although strongly suggested) should come chronologically after that. As it is, the RTP/SCS comes first and then is totally upended after the RHND
comes out. That is an upside-down way to plan, and we’re correcting it.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
- Jane Park, Assemblymember Zbur’s office
Phone: (916) 319-2051
- Scott Epstein, Abundant Housing Los Angeles
Phone: (562) 221-1782
- Amy Hines-Shaikh, Legislative Advocate
Phone: (925) 822-4213
AB 1335 (Zbur) – Fact Sheet – Updated 5/3/2023
1 California Government Code Section 65080.(b)(2)(K)
2 California Government Code Section 65584.04.(m)
3 Mawhorter and Martin (2018). “California’s SB 375 and the Pursuit of Sustainable and Affordable Development.” Terner Center.