Housing in the North Bay is very expensive and demand far exceeds the supply. The North Bay severely lacks all levels of workforce housing. The rent for the average two-bedroom, two-bath apartment in Sonoma County has increased 49 percent in five years to $2,122 a month. The vacancy rate is less than 3 percent–essentially full occupancy. Sonoma County’s local governments issued just 581 building permits for single-family homes last year. In Marin County, the cost of a median-priced home is hovering around $1,000,000. Employers are faced with the need to provide higher wages for their workers, putting a strain on their bottom line, and it becomes increasingly difficult to lure top talent to a region where they cannot afford to buy a home. The cure to Bay Area’s affordability ailment is to significantly increase the supply of housing units throughout the region, and to do so, we must work to mitigate these regulatory barriers to development of all kinds.
The lack of political will, at all levels of government, to solve the housing shortage is causing huge affordability gaps and the displacement of thousands of low income residents in our region. We must:
- Immediately remove institutional barriers to smart growth and development
- Create a sustainable permanent funding mechanism to finance housing development
- Ensure that good policy trumps bad politics. We must support good development projects and better make our case that we all benefit from smart growth
What We Seek
- Declaration of a housing state of emergency: The Department of Finance report found that while California has seen a 6 percent population increase since 2010, new housing has increased by only 2.9 percent. It is time to declare a housing state and temporarily roll back non-health and safety housing regulations.
- Modernization of CEQA and reform of tax policies driving preference for the most expensive housing to be built due to municipal funding concerns
- Identify cost reduction strategies to bring down the excessive price tag on housing construction
- Put real teeth in the RHNA process and allow the state to reward those communities that choose to meet their housing obligations by directing transportation funding to cities that build the most housing and by prudent amendments to the Housing Affordability Act.
- Allow for new delivery methods for affordable housing such as the ministerial permitting of Accessory Dwelling Units.
- AB 1515 Housing Accountability Act (Daly) addresses this shortage of homes by amending the Housing Accountability Act (HAA) to encourage more approvals of housing projects. It is intended to provide legal cover for local elected officials from project opponents.
- SB 167 Housing Accountability Act (Skinner) to strengthen the HAA to prevent localities from saying no to housing at the expense of California as a whole.
- ACA 4 (Aguiar-Curry) to authorize a local government to impose, extend, or increase a special tax for the purposes of funding the construction, rehabilitation or replacement of public infrastructure or affordable housing, if the proposition proposing that tax is approved by 55% of the voters.
- SB 2 (Atkins) imposes a fee, excepted as provided, of $75 paid at the time of recording of every real estate instrument, per single transaction per single property, not to exceed $225.
- SB 3 (Beall) would enact the Housing Affordability Bond Act of 2018 would authorize the issues of bonds in the amount of $3M to financed various existing housing programs as well as infill infrastructure financing and affordable housing matching grant programs.