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Legislation to Expand Coastal Housing Access in California and Eliminate Barriers to Build More Housing Passes the Assembly Inbox

May 21, 2024

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May 21, 2024                                                    

Contact: Vincenzo Caporale

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Legislation to Expand Coastal Housing Access in California and Eliminate Barriers to Build More Housing Passes the Assembly

(Sacramento) Yesterday, the State Assembly approved Assembly Bill 2560 and Assembly Bill 1886, authored by Assemblymember David Alvarez (D-San Diego). AB 2560 would eliminate the exemption of the Coastal Zone from the state's Housing Density Bonus Law and AB 1886 would provide certainty and clarification to the Builder’s Remedy by clarifying when housing projects become eligible for the builder’s remedy.

“Wealthier areas along California’s coast need to do their part in building more housing,” said Assemblymember David Alvarez. “This change in the highly successful ‘Density Bonus Law’ will make sure that communities along the coast also build housing for low and middle-income Californians. The current law prevents housing along with denying access to California’s coast to the average citizen.”


AB 2560 eliminates the provision that currently prevents the application of the Density Bonus Law within the Coastal Zone. This aims to enable areas already zoned for housing to construct additional units in exchange for reserving a percentage for moderate, low, and very-low income households. According to the National Association of Home Builders, in the third quarter of 2019, eight out of ten least-affordable major metropolitan areas in the nation were in California, seven of which were along the coast, making median-priced homes unaffordable to fewer than one in four households.

"The Coastal Act's original intent was to protect coastal access for all Californians. But over the past 50 years, the coast has become the most exclusive and segregated part of California. Density Bonus Law only applies where there is already multifamily zoning. That makes it a win-win for creating coastal housing access for ordinary Californians while still protecting our sensitive coastal wetlands," William Moore, Policy Counsel, Circulate SD.

In 1990, the Builder's Remedy was added to the Housing Accountability Act. It aimed to discourage cities from failing to build and meet the housing needs of their residents. However, for thirty years, use of the Builder's Remedy has been infrequent. The Builder’s Remedy allows homebuilders to move their housing projects with less red tape such as discretionary actions by local governments. These housing projects must include 20% of affordable housing units. There are various cities who are refusing to process the builder’s remedy applications due to the lack of clarity in the law that have led to legal battles.

“Despite the current Builder's Remedy law, the lack of clarity in the law has stopped projects in cities that refuse to plan or build housing,” said Assemblymember David Alvarez. “This bill is written to provide certainty and clear up ambiguity. With AB 1886, it will be clear that the builder’s remedy can and should be used as intended to build more housing, including requiring 20% of affordable housing in cities that are not doing their part in solving the state’s housing crisis.”

“AB 1886 is a good government measure to clarify when a local housing element shall be considered to be in substantial compliance with state law and we thank Assemblymember Alvarez for bringing it forward." Michael Lane, State Policy Director – SPUR.

David Alvarez with District 80 residents


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