California Senate Bill (SB) 10, recently signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, provides that local agencies may adopt an ordinance to allow up to 10 dwelling units on any parcel, at a height specified in the ordinance, if the parcel is within a transit-rich area or urban infill site.
The new law provides increased ability for pro-housing cities to approve potentially substantial upzonings without being held up by California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) processing and litigation. However, since SB 10 exempts only rezoning – without providing any CEQA exemption or approval process for the actual housing – the law will have a limited effect in significantly advancing housing approvals for projects with discretionary approvals.
The law provides some increased ability for pro-housing cities to move forward potentially substantial upzonings without being held up by CEQA processing delays and litigation. However, since SB 10 exempts only the rezoning process – without providing any CEQA exemption, ministerial approval or by-right approval process for the actual housing itself – the law will have a limited effect in significantly advancing housing approvals. Approval of an actual housing development would remain subject to CEQA in the many jurisdictions that require discretionary permits for new housing, and so SB 10's process is likely to have its greatest effect in localities that choose through their own codes to adopt by-right or ministerial permitting of code-compliant housing developments.
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