Calif. Government Code §65583.2
Amended by A. B. 1397
Effective date: January 1, 2018

Parcels included in a city’s inventory of sites suitable for residential development need to have sufficient water, sewer and dry utilities available and accessible to support housing development, or be included in a current plan to provide those utilities.

The inventory needs to specify how many units may realistically be accommodated on each site, and what income-level housing the site will accommodate. Nonvacant sites identified in a previous housing element and vacant sites included in two or more consecutive planning periods without being approved will not accommodate lower income households for the current housing element planning period, unless the sites:

  • are capable of being developed at high densities; and
  • require rezoning within three years of the beginning of the planning period to allow residential use for housing developments in which at least 20% of the units are affordable to lower income households.

Unincorporated cities in nonmetropolitan areas are exempt from these requirements.

The number of units based on an established minimum density for a site will now be adjusted based on:

  • the realistic development capacity of the site;
  • typical densities of developments on similar sites; and
  • availability of water, sewer and dry utilities.

A site may be presumed realistic for the development of low-income housing if such a development has been approved when the housing element is adopted. A local government needs to demonstrate that a site smaller than half an acre or larger than 10 acres can accommodate low-income housing before identifying the site in its housing inventory.

When determining residential housing development potential of existing sites, a city needs to take into account:

  • the city’s past experience converting existing uses into high-density residential developments;
  • the current market demand for the existing use; and
  • an analysis of existing leases which would perpetuate the existing use or prevent redevelopment of the site.

When a city relies on nonvacant sites to accommodate 50% or more of its low-income housing need, the methodology needs to demonstrate existing uses do not impede additional residential development.

Current residential uses subject to rent control ordinance or occupied by low-income households will be subject to a policy requiring that the units be replaced with units of the same or lower income level as a condition of development of the site.

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Read the bill text.

Related article:

Updates to California Planning and Zoning Law