In the past six years, California has introduced over 100 laws aimed at increasing housing production. A new policy brief New Pathways to Encourage Housing Production: A Review of California’s Recent Housing Legislation provides an overview of these recent changes and perspectives on how they are being implemented based on interviews with planners, land use lawyers, and other stakeholders.
While it is too early to assess the impact of these legislative changes—or the ways in which implementation varies in different places—the authors find that this recent legislation has resulted in some positive impacts, particularly in stimulating the construction of accessory dwelling units, encouraging a shift to a culture of “yes” around project approvals in some cities, and strengthening planning law, such as the Housing Element and RHNA processes, in potentially powerful ways. However, high development costs, lagging personnel and technical capacity at the local level, and political will to maintain strong enforcement of housing law are ongoing challenges.
In addition to the brief, we have released an accompanying online tool that allows users to search and sort legislation passed since 2016 by categories such as year, code section, and topic area.