Legislation Priority

AB 1397

Status: Signed Into Law

AB 1397, passed in 2017, holds cities accountable to their regional housing needs assessment goals by tightening the standards for what qualifies as an “adequate site” under housing element law.

Every eight years, local governments are required to update their zoning codes – also known as “general plans” – to accommodate population growth in line with state housing element law. But many cities abuse the process and amend their general plans to show multifamily housing in areas that are unbuildable, or otherwise unsuitable for residential development. This often includes lots already occupied by single-family homes, churches, big-box retailers – even City Hall buildings.

To prevent cities from undermining the goals of housing element law, AB 1397 requires local governments to prove that their general plans include sufficient “adequate sites” to comply with their housing element, and that all such sites have a realistic potential for new housing development.

Author: Low (D, AD 26)

Co-authors: Wiener (D, SD 11), Chiu (D, AD 17), Bloom (D, AD 50)