Watch Our Webinar on California’s Local Housing Mandates: the Council of Infill Builders and California Lawyers Association hosted a webinar discussion on September 24th with outgoing director Ben Metcalf of the California Department of Housing and Community Development. Director Metcalf discussed how California is tightening up local compliance requirements, lawsuits against cities not in compliance, and where state housing policy may go from here. Watch the recording here!
LA Infill Conference: Thank you to all who attended our annual Infill Conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday, July 24th at UCLA Law, featuring a keynote by State Senator Scott Wiener and a conversation with L.A. Metro CEO Phil Washington. See the agenda and Planning Report article on the event. We will post video from the conference soon.
REPORT RELEASE: “Accelerating Infill in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County: Options to Address the Housing Shortage & Wildfire Rebuilding Effort”
Santa Rosa, CA – The Council of Infill Builders released the new report Accelerating Infill in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County: Options to Address the Housing Shortage & Wildfire Rebuilding Effort. Following the devastating Sonoma County wildfires in October 2017, which destroyed about 6,000 homes county-wide and over 3,000 in the City of Santa Rosa alone (at least 5% of its housing stock), the Council of Infill Builders convened state and local public officials, real estate investors and developers, local business leaders, and other stakeholders to discuss options to rebuild homes in a more sustainable, infill-focused way.
The report finds that to rebuild 30,000 homes over the next five years in existing urbanized downtown neighborhoods to meet demand, stakeholders will need to overcome challenges related to market uncertainty due to unknown demand for infill, a lack of demonstrated viability and financing for infill, a lack of policy and process commitment to support infill development, and high costs and fees on infill.
Accelerating Infill in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County recommends seven priority policy solutions to address the rebuilding challenge in the region:
- Pilot projects with public partnership with possible concessions regarding fees, land purchase, and streamlined entitlements.
- Rent guarantees for employees from employers to boost demand for infill.
- A Joint Powers Agency (JPA)/Renewal Enterprise District (RED) to guide and fund infill development.
- Zoning, parking requirement, and development fee reforms to encourage rather than stymie infill development.
- Improved availability of public sector infill financing and enhanced access to sales and use taxes.
- CEQA streamlining for qualifying infill, as contemplated by legislation like AB 2267 (Wood).
- A market study and project development navigator to help streamline infill investment and deployment.
Governor Brown Signs Council of Infill Builders’ Bill to Create New Financing Tool for Infill Projects
On October 7th, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 1568 (Bloom): “Neighborhood Infill Finance and Transit Improvements Act” (NIFTI). NIFTI authorizes local governments to finance infill projects within an enhanced infrastructure finance district based on future tax revenue increases, such as from sales and occupancy taxes. This innovative new financing tool will help California’s cities and counties build sustainable, equitable infill projects to address the housing shortage and meet the climate goals in Assembly and Senate Bills 32.
Council of Infill Builders board member Meea Kang led the successful legislative effort for the organization. “NIFTI will be a powerful tool to help finance badly needed infill projects in the state,” Kang said. “We know many pioneering infill projects lack access to upfront capital for supportive infrastructure and other needs, and this bill helps local governments fill that gap without raising taxes or fees.”
The Council of Infill Builders thanks our partner organizations for this legislative success, including Natural Resources Defense Council, Planning and Conservation League, Housing Advocates, Housing California, Public Advocates, and Western Center on Law and Poverty, among others. For more information, please see the full bill text and fact sheet from the California legislature.
REPORT RELEASE: “Wasted Spaces: Options to Reform Parking Policy in Los Angeles”
Los Angeles, CA – The Council of Infill Builders released the new report Wasted Spaces: Options to Reform Parking Policy in Los Angeles. Based on an expert convening in January 2017, the report finds that excessive parking requirements for new development, lack of adequate pricing and enforcement for existing parking spaces, and failure to better manage parking assets in the region wastes space, drives up housing prices and rents, and limits overall mobility in the region.
Wasted Spaces contains priority policy solutions to address the parking challenges in Los Angeles:
- Eliminate, reduce or right-size minimum parking requirements for any new development project;
- Charge optimal pricing for parking and ensure revenue from enforcement benefits the local community; and
- Improve parking management rather than mandating new parking requirements in the zoning code, such as through shared parking and transportation demand options.
“Meeting LA’s affordability challenges and growing the city around our transit network will require smart land use policies,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar (District 14), “Wasted Spaces provides meaningful solutions for city leaders to consider in re-assessing and updating our parking policies.”
To implement the solutions, the report recommends that local leaders take the following steps:
- Reframe parking policy reform as “improving overall mobility and access to destinations” to alleviate local fears, as well as demonstration projects and policies to test out parking reform concepts with concerned neighbors;
- Gather, curate and centralize parking data in a clearinghouse to educate the public and policy makers about actual parking needs and supply in a given area; and
- Find common ground on housing and transportation policies with those seeking to leverage high parking requirements for concessions, such as by creating grants or other incentives for local jurisdictions that actively manage parking to address these conflicts.