On Senate Bill 592 and the Shift Towards Development Interests
Senate Bill 592 "The Housing Accountability Act" was written to incentivize affordable housing development. However, the complexity of the bill creates some ambiguity around land-use law precedent. This confusion invites litigation. The bill also gives legal standing to parties with no established property interest, parties whose interests may even compete with the city and the developer.
Separately the bill limits the power of cities and counties to effectively change zoning if these changes would limit density. However, ceding that local control doesn't guarantee, in exchange, the development of affordable housing. The bill focuses on streamlining processes, creating new limitations for the review and approval of residential units, mixed-use developments, transitional or supportive housing, and accessory dwelling units (granny flats). The current processes, however, do not appear to be a stumbling block for housing development. In the most recent RHNA reporting cycle, cities/counties appear to be approving market-rate housing at a pace that meets or exceeds their RHNA requirements (see here). The real and significant hurdle for affordable housing development, and one not addressed by SB 592, is providing subsidies to affordable projects, not the speed of development review.
For more detail on SB 592 visit our report:
SB 592: a dangerous shift toward development interests