Staedler: AB 2011 opens up commercial corridors to housing development
The Japantown senior apartments, an affordable housing project in San Jose, is pictured in this file photo.

    California passed several housing bills before the end of the current legislative session. Assembly Bill 2011 enacts a streamlined ministerial approval by cities comparable to Senate Bill 35, for multi-family projects on commercial zoned land that meet certain provisions. Those include prevailing wages and affordable housing requirements.

    The bill would allow housing projects to be built within an area where office, retail or parking are principally permitted use. The development application would be streamlined through one of two processes. One of the caveats of the bill is that it would require a contract with construction workers with labor standards and a prevailing wage overseen by the state. The developer would have to certify to the local government those standards will be met under the crime of perjury.

    It’s interesting that the bill introduced two options, the first allows 100% below market rate projects on commercial zoned property. The second option requires 15% below market rate units on commercial corridors. This was a compromise required to pass the bill.

    Here are some other interesting tidbits from the legislation:

    • It takes effect on July 1, 2023 and sunsets in 2033
    • No parking shall be required (with some limited exceptions)
    • No housing within 500 feet of a freeway
    • Not allowed on mobile home park sites
    • Displaced tenants will be provided relocation assistance no less than six months rent up to a maximum of 18 months rent

    The full text of the bill can be found here.

    This legislation will open up commercial corridors throughout California that have had residential development restrictions or requirements for housing development that is so onerous that it is never developed. Prepare yourselves for the NIMBY brigades showing up at City Council meetings trying to stop development on corridors such as El Camino Real.

    The housing tragedy that our region faces has not eased at all. Expect more legislation like this to be introduced in the next legislative session. The need for housing at all income levels is desperately needed. This has been decades of neglect in the making by local cities not building enough housing.

    San José Spotlight columnist Bob Staedler is a principal at Silicon Valley Synergy, a San Jose-based land use and development consulting firm. His columns appear every first Monday of the month. Contact Bob at [email protected] or follow @BobStaedler on Twitter.

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