The Homework Newsletter

The HomeWork: March 09, 2022

March 09, 2022

Welcome to the March 09, 2022 Main edition of The HomeWork, the official newsletter of California YIMBY — legislative updates, news clips, housing research and analysis, and the latest writings from the California YIMBY team.

News from Sacramento

The Capitol is getting ready for the first sets of committee hearings on bills, which will happen in the latter half of March through April. Two bills set for hearings that California YIMBY is tracking include SB 897 (Wieckowski), which would make changes to ADU law favoring homeowner choices; and SB 1292 (Stern), which would allow local governments to establish setback rules for ADUs under certain circumstances, likely making it more difficult to build ADUs in certain places. 

California YIMBY’s current sponsored bills include: 

  • AB 889 (Gipson): AB 889 seeks to increase transparency in housing by requiring corporate and institutional landlords to report the owners of the corporation or limited liability company that rents out a property.
  • AB 2097 (Friedman): AB 2097 will reduce housing costs and slash climate and air pollution by eliminating expensive parking mandates on new homes built near high-quality transit
  • AB 2221 (Quirk-Silva): This bill would accelerate Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs, aka granny flats or casitas) development by clarifying ambiguities in existing law and removing arbitrary barriers that some cities have imposed on ADU development.
  • AB 2873 (Jones-Sawyer): This bill will advance diversity, equity, and inclusion by requiring developers that receive state affordable housing dollars to report if the firms they contract with are owned and operated by people of color, women, or LGBTQ+ people.
  • SB 886 (Wiener): SB 886 will help universities build student housing faster and at lower cost by streamlining the environmental review process for housing on university-owned land that is neither at risk of fire, nor in a sensitive habitat.
  • SCA 2 (Allen): SCA 2 proposes to repeal Article 34 of the California Constitution with the goal of making it legal to build low-income and public housing in California’s cities.

You can find more information about our priority bills on the Legislative page of our website.

Housing Research & Analysis

Is the Global Urban Housing Shortage Public Policy Enemy #1?

What if the housing shortage was behind Western nations’ most difficult political and social problems today? Such is the compelling argument advanced in a brilliant recent article by Sam Bowman, London YIMBY founder John Myers, and Ben Southwood at Works in Progress.

Key takeaways:

  1. Many urban metropoles across the globe are home to housing shortages and soaring home prices, particularly in fast-growing wealthy cities.

  2. High cost burdens on working households cause and exacerbate many economic woes–people are priced out of cities where they could work better jobs, hindering both productivity and mobility while increasing inequality.

  3. The shortage of homes also has effects on our basic health: it increases automobile dependence, which exacerbates local air pollution and climate change and may contribute to obesity, while also making it too expensive for prospective parents to have children.

When the Bay Area Plans Public Transit, More Is Less

“More Is Less,” a new report by Laura Tokloff at SPUR, highlights important reforms that could make public transit expansion throughout the Bay Area quicker and more cost-effective.

Key takeaways:

  1. “Big Idea 1” is that the region needs to improve planning and management for transit capital projects. Poor oversight and insufficient foresight have left agencies burdened with growing costs and delays. Instead, regional agencies should plan for bus lanes on highways.
  2. The Bay Area needs a regional agency to coordinate larger projects. Small jurisdictions don’t have the capacity or institutional memories to manage projects that might come along once in a lifetime for individual localities.
  3. State law should permit streamlined environmental review for transit projects.

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