Newsom signs bill to speed up housing, development

California

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTXL) — Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Thursday that aims to speed up housing and development projects across the state.

“This bill is about our investment in the future of the state of California,” Newsom said.

Some consider California’s Environmental Quality Act, also known as CEQA, a major hurdle for housing and development production.

The bill Newsom signed extends previous legislation that fast-tracked the CEQA judicial review process for large, multi-benefit housing, clean energy and manufacturing projects. 

It also allows smaller, affordable housing projects to qualify for the expedited review.

“More jobs, more business, more affordable housing,” State Senate Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said Thursday. “This is really important for our economic recovery.”

Newsom’s bill signing in San Jose came on the same day as some state housing groups urged the state to do even more. The California Building Industry Association noted production continues to fall short of demand.

“Production has gone down the past three years and continues to fall beneath the projections we need,” CBIA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Michael Gunning said.

Because of low supply, demand and home prices continue to set record highs.

The California Realtors Association says the latest median home price in California is more than $813,000. The group urged the state to set aside money for grants and tax credits for low to moderate-income homebuyers.

“We’re on track for the once unthinkable. A median home price of one million dollars, that puts homeownership out of reach for millions of Californians,” Dave Walsh, the group’s president, said.

Newsom is proposing to use more than $1 billion from the state budget to fast-track thousands of affordable housing units considered shovel-ready. He’s also calling for a housing accountability unit to bring oversight to local governments.

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