New California Permit Streamlining Changes in Effect January 1, 2020
Senate Bill 330 (Skinner 2020) (the “Bill”) goes in effect at the start of the year. The Bill is designed to mitigate the shortage of housing California is experiencing in several ways. One such way is streamlining the permitting process for proposed housing development projects. The Bill defines a “housing development project” to mean any of the following: residential units only; mixed-use developments consisting of residential and nonresidential uses with at least two-thirds of the square footage designated for residential use; or transitional housing or supportive house.
Specifically, the Bill provides that if a proposed housing development project complies with the applicable, objective general plan and zoning standards in effect at the time an application is deemed complete, the city and/or county cannot conduct more than five public hearings in connection with the approval of the housing development project. The Bill further provides that a proposed development project is not inconsistent with the applicable zoning standards and criteria, and shall not require a rezoning, if the housing development project is consistent with the objective general plan standards and criteria, but the zoning for the project site is inconsistent with the general plan.
Additionally, the Bill provides that a city or county must determine whether the site of a proposed housing development is a historic site at the time the application for the housing development project is deemed complete, unless any archaeological, paleontological, or tribal cultural resources are encountered during any grading, site disturbance, or building alteration activities.
The Bill requires the public agency to make a determination, in writing and within thirty (30) calendar days upon receiving an application for a development project, whether the application is complete. The determination must list the items that were not complete. The public agency may not list additional incomplete items for subsequent application submissions for the same project—i.e. the public agency’s list of incomplete items is limited to those listed in its original determination and additional items cannot be added to that list at later dates. If the public agency does not make the determination within thirty (30) calendar days and the application includes a statement that it is an application for a development permit, the application is deemed complete.
The Bill can be located at: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB330.