Senator Caballero Introduces The Neighborhood Homes Act

May 21, 2020


Thursday, May 21, 2020


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Senator Caballero Introduces The Neighborhood Homes Act

Legislation Will Unlock Residential Development on Vacant Commercial Property

SACRAMENTO – Yesterday, Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins announced that Senate Bill 1385 The Neighborhood Homes Act authored by Senator Anna M. Caballero is part of a strategic package of legislation aimed to increase housing production. SB 1385 provides local government with the authority to approve residential development infill projects on existing commercially zoned retail and office space to accommodate critical affordable housing.

“Large shopping malls, strip malls, and “big box” retail stores are facing a new reality: consumers’ needs are being met online. Many shopping centers have struggled to remain viable, as large anchor stores have gone out of business, unable to keep up with major online retailers. Now, many areas throughout California are left with struggling strip malls or vacant, often-times run-down, commercial centers without any interest in development from commercial business. Empty “big box” retail spaces are left behind, as a result of bankruptcies or business decisions to shrink their brick and mortar presence,” said Senator Caballero.

At the same time retail vacancies are growing, California’s housing crisis continues to worsen. According to the California Budget and Policy Center, over 50% of renters and nearly 40% of homeowners pay more than 30% of their income in rent. The Public Policy Institute of California recently reported that California’s housing shortage continues to grow as the number of residential building permits issued for 2018 and 2019 were far below the recommended annual average of new homes needed.

“While there is no single policy to fix California’s housing crisis, providing easy ways for communities to increase their housing supply on existing unviable properties is a commonsense step in the right direction and SB 1385 will do just that. Building new housing on already developed commercial properties provides communities with an opportunity to revisit how to achieve their housing goals. Allowing for an easier pathway for residential development to occur on struggling and vacant commercially zoned retail and office space opens up already developed lands to meet our housing needs,” stated Senator Caballero.

California Forward, sponsors of SB 1385, agrees with the need for innovative solutions to address California’s housing shortage. “Finding solutions that increase available land for residential developments, as proposed in Senate Bill 1385 and championed by the California Economic Summit, is a good step towards meeting the demand and making housing more affordable in the state,” said Micah Weinberg, CEO of California Forward, sponsor of the bill. “SB 1385 not only incentivizes residential development; it can also ignite necessary economic activity in communities in need of revitalization.”

SB 1385 will be heard in the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance on May 28th, 2020.

Senator Anna M. Caballero represents the 12th Senate District, composed of Merced, Madera and San Benito Counties and portions of Fresno, Monterey and Stanislaus Counties.