California YIMBY Statement on Governor Signing Major Housing Legislation

September 28, 2022

California YIMBY Statement on Governor Signing Major Housing Legislation

Land Use Reforms Allow Affordable Housing in Commercial Zones, Student Housing

“A more affordable California also means better jobs for construction workers”

SACRAMENTO – Today, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law three critically important housing bills: AB 2011, SB 886, and AB 2221.

The bill signings complete a legislative session in which every one of California YIMBY’s priority housing bills for the 2021- 2022 legislative session was signed into law. 

AB 2011 by Asm. Buffy Wicks is the most sweeping housing and land use reform of this legislative session. It allows affordable housing to be built “by-right” in commercially-zoned districts, while including strong protections for the environment and labor standards such as prevailing wages and health insurance. 

Independent analysis has found that the bill could spur the creation of 2.4 million homes throughout the state.

“AB 2011 is one of the most significant housing bills of this legislative session, and could unlock the potential for millions of affordable homes in California,” said Brian Hanlon, CEO of California YIMBY. “California has a huge amount of under-utilized and abandoned commercial properties that could see rapid development of subsidized affordable housing under this legislation – and would include good jobs with fair wages for construction workers. This is a game changer for housing in our state; we’re grateful to Governor Newsom for signing this bill into law, and we  applaud Asm. Buffy Wicks for her leadership in building the coalition that made it all possible.”

AB 2011 allows for ministerial, by-right approval for affordable housing on commercially-zoned lands, and also allows such approvals for mixed-income housing along commercial corridors, as long as the projects meet specified affordability, labor, and environmental criteria. The bill also requires that all projects seeking approval under its provisions ensure all construction workers earn prevailing wages and receive health benefits.

With thousands of potential commercial sites across California, the bill would allow production of new affordable housing units at scale, without changing the density or character of existing residential neighborhoods.

The bill also includes new homeownership opportunities for middle-income Californians, while promoting climate-friendly affordable development on sites close to jobs and transit.

SB 886 by Sen. Scott Wiener will make it faster and easier for the University of California, California State University, and community colleges across the state to build student and faculty housing on and near their campuses.

AB 2221 by Asm. Sharon Quirk-Silva clarifies state housing law to make Accessory Dwelling Units, or “casitas,” easier to build, especially in unused commercial space, in “missing middle” housing, and in existing single family homes.

“SB 886 is a long overdue measure that will allow our state universities to catch up to the massive student and faculty housing shortage on their campuses. And AB 2221 will allow Californians to build more ADUs – one of the most popular and fastest-growing forms of housing in our state,” said Hanlon. “We are grateful for Governor Newsom’s leadership in addressing the housing shortage and affordability crisis and honored to support Sen. Scott Wiener and Asm. Quirk-Silva in their tireless efforts to make it legal to build more homes in California for everyone.”

To learn more about these bills, visit: