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Council’s Legislative Policy Committee to Review California’s New Bill Allowing Housing on College, Church Property

Published on Monday, June 27, 2022 | 5:00 am

The Legislative Policy Committee will review and discuss SB1336, a bill that allows affordable housing on college campuses and churches.

The bill allows faith institutions and nonprofit colleges to build affordable housing by right.

California is currently facing a massive housing crisis.

The bill was introduced earlier this month by Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) Weiner introduced a similar bill, SB 899 two years ago.

“Our churches, mosques and synagogues want to do everything they can to help our communities,” Wiener said in a prepared statement. “Many of them have land that they can use for affordable housing, but when they try to build these projects, they face years of delays and arbitrary zoning restrictions.”

The bill passed unanimously in the State Senate and the Assembly Housing Committee, but failed to get out of the legislature.

The legislation only applies to 100% affordable housing for low income residents. The housing must remain affordable for 55 years if it’s a rental property and 45 years for properties that can be owned.

The projects would be built “by-right.”

Under the by right stipulation, “By right” projects are only subject to a review by the Design Commission — no hearing officer or Planning Commission bearings are required for a Conditional Use Permit or other discretionary entitlements.

Some local residents have been calling on the City Council to approve a zoning code amendment that would allow for housing on church property.

The City Council is scheduled to discuss the amendment when it reconvenes next month.

The amendment allows a maximum of 75 dwelling units “by right,” but requires a Minor Conditional Use Permit for projects that will exceed the threshold.

The Planning Commission voted 7-2 in April to recommend the amendments to the City Council.

In previous public hearings, some members of the Planning Commission recommended allowing affordable housing not just on church property but on property held by institutional facilities, such as schools and nonprofit facilities, but the final proposal that was voted upon by the commission recommended allowing affordable housing only on religious sites as a pilot program.

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